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A COLLECTION 

OF 

SPEECHES 

SPOKEN BY 

DANIEL O'CONNELL, ESQ. 

AND 

RICHARD SHEIL, ESQ. 

ON SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH THE 

CATHOLIC QUESTION, 



DUBLIN : 

JOHN CUM MING, 

16, LOWER ORMOND-QUAY, 
AND 

THOMAS TEGG, 73, CHEAPSIDE, LONDON. 

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN, 



1828. ^ 



O 18 



& X O 



18 



CHESTNUT ^CJSgp 



R, BEERE & CO. PRINTER* 
28, L. STRAND-STREET. 



THIS collection of Speeches is published, 
in a cheap form, with a view to it's circulation 
among all classes of the Irish people. It is not 
the object of the Editor to furnish specimens 
of eloquence — the book is not literary, but po- 
litical. 

It is right that the reader should be apprised, 
that with the exception of that upon Church- 
rates, none of Mr. O'Connell's Speeches, were 
ever furnished to the Press by himself. The 
Speech delivered by him at Waterford, was 
reported by a gentleman sent from the Morning 
Herald, for the purpose ; and w r as revised by 
Mr. O'Connell. The rest of his Speeches are 
extracted from the Public Journals, and were 
untouched by him. His professional and pub- 
lic occupations precluded the possibility of cor- 
rections by his own hand. 

Some of Mr. O'Connell's Addresses are in- 
serted, on account of the admirable matter 



iv 



which they contain. This departure from the 
title and original design of the book, will be 
justified by their great usefulness : of those 
compositions, the Address to the Dissenters, 
which appeals so strongly to the feelings, and 
so powerfully to the reason of that body, and 
is a masterpiece of argument, of narration, and 
of eloquence, closes the volume. 

Mr. Sheil's Speeches are extracted from the 
newspapers. 



SPEECH, 



DELIVERED B V 

Mr. O'CONNELL, at theMunsterProvincial Meeting, 

HELD IN WATERFORD, 
ON THE SOth of august, 1826. 



I RISE in order to direct the attention of the people, 
and if possible, the consideration of the government to the 
multifarious evils by which this country is afflicted. 

The chief and master grievance is the enormity and mis- 
application of the Revenues of the Established Church. 
In these revenues the poor have a right to find their first and 
best resources. It was evidently the intention of the origi- 
nal donor, that three distinct functions should be performed 
by the Ecclesiastical Revenues ; first, the rewas one-third in- 
tended to support the Clergyman : secondly, one-third 
was applicable to the building and keeping in repair the 
Churches ; and the remaining third, which was what Irish- 
men called the biggest third, was intended, and, in Catho- 
lic times, applied to support the indigent and helpless, to 
nourish the weary, to console the sick, and alleviate every 
affliction. How changed from Catholic times ! Now a 
proud and haughty parson consumes the whole, and riots 
in that consumption, whilst he outrages and insults the peo- 
ple whom he consigns with contempt to beggary and star- 
vation. His charity begins at home, and it is of so domes- 
tic a nature that it never goes abroad. And not only does 
he refuse to build or repair the parish churches, but he in- 
flicts a heavy perpetual cess on wretched Catholic inhabi- 
tant^ and with money w rung from their poverty erects for 
himself those unseemly buildings which disfigure the coun- 
try — those large barns with steeples growing out of them — 
erected at the expense of many Catholics to accommodate 
occasionally, at an idle hour, three, four, or five nominal 
Protestants. This of all our oppression is perhaps the most 
vexatious :— -it perpetually recurs ; the statesmen are so ab- 
surd as to imagine that the Catholics of Ireland can conti- 
tinue to endure the deprivation of their civil rights, aggra- 
vated by the plunder of their property to maintain those who 
calumniate and insult them. 

It will be said, for I am calumniated on every p^int, ani 
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I love to cause that calumny — it will be said that my object 
is to wrest from the Established Clergy their temporalities 
in ordet to bestow them on the clergy of the Catholic 
Church. I laugh to scorn the idle accusation. It is impos- 
sible that I should desire to see my clergy possessed of the 
wealth of the Protestant Church ; and although I think the 
State ought to furnish a moderate provision for the Catholic 
Clergy, yet my opinion is fixed and unaltered, that wealth 
ruins the utility of the ministers of Christ, and turns that 
self-devotedness and purity of intention which ought to be- 
long to the clerical character, into the sordid speculation of 
a vile traffic. It degrades the ministry and pollutes the al- 
tar, and converts the apostles of the meek, humble, and 
charitable Redeemer into fiery partizans and tyrannical 
lordlings. For one, therefore, I never will consent to see 
worldly wealth tarnish the Catholic priesthood. To the ma- 
jority of the Clergy, especially the Prelates of the Estab- 
lished Church, my hostility is open and avowed. The con- 
duct of the Bishops in the House of Lords has created and 
justifies the feelings of deep resentment. Nor is that re- 
sentment unmixed in some instances with well merited con- 
tempt. Yes, we ourselves have heard one of the lights of 
the English Episcopal bench, not merely content with vent- 
ing his virulent misrepresentation, but actually lying like a 
misplaced mile-stone, false as an un-wound clock. That Bi- 
shop in order to continue the base injustice done to the Ca- 
tholics of Ireland, stated as an historical fact, that the late 
Dr. Dromgoole had made a bigoted speech at the Catholic 
Board, That such speech was not only applauded, but that a 
distinct vote of thanks had been passed to him, thanking him 
for that speech. Gracious Heaven, of what material be these 
Protestant Bishops made? Here was a solemn statement in 
a legislative assembly, made by a right Reverend Pre- 
late — and what was not only untrue, but directly the 
reverse of the fact. There was indeed a vote passed by 
the Catholic Board, on the subject of that speech — a vote of 
approbation ? No ; a vote of direct and harsh reprobation 
and condemnation : and here stands my friend, Mr. O'Gor- 
man, the person who actually moved that vote. Let Eng- 
land learn from this single example, how flippant is the 
tongue of calumny againt the Catholic religion. How cau- 
tious they should be to believe men of minor character, 
when the lofty tone and the sacred station is used to give 
greater circulation to vile falsehood. If a Catholic Bishop 
had thus misrepresented the fact, how soon would the Orange 
Press exclaim the miscreant Bishop. 

I only condemn the ingredients of their own vile chalice 



3 



to their viler lips. Ireland has suffered much— and long 
centuries of oppression have rolled over, of English oppres- 
sion—the varying tide of time has given her but a variega- 
tion of woe. The miseries of one period differ only in cha- 
racter from the wretchedness of former times— distress, dis- 
sentions, poverty, and turbulence, oppression and insur- 
rection, stain her annals. Our fertile soil is almost a de- 
sert—our noble harbours a solitude — our powerful streams 
roll undisturbed by machinery to the ocean. An active, a 
cheerful, generous, and a brave people, linger out lives of 
penury and distress. The tithe collector, the cess gatherer, 
the law driver, the grand jury extortioner, haunt every re- 
cess, and seize upon all the means of livelihood — while the 
absentee squanders in foreign climes, and encourages fo- 
reign industry with the spoils of our impoverished land. 
Amid the dreariness of our wretched country, the most 
hideous of earthly monsters, religious dissension, rears its 
horrid head, and " affrights the isle from her propriety." 
To England I attribute all these evils — to England I justly 
attribute them. All the crime, and some of the punish- 
ment, thank Heaven, belongs to England. Man cannot be 
unjust with impunity. To countenance and support a fac- 
tion — to enable a greedy and unemployed clergy to bloat 
with wealth, and live in luxury— to crush the sacred prin- 
ciple of liberty of conscience, and to extinguish the hope 
of rational freedom, is the game England has long played 
in this country. She has succeeded to her heart's content, 
but I rejoice that she is obliged to pay out of her own trea- 
sure for that vicious success. Ireland cannot be oppressed 
and productive. Next to tyranny, they love money. Well, 
let them have the comfort of knowing that to continue the 
present system costs England more than two millions ster- 
ling by the year, over and above all that the revenues of 
Ireland produce. Listen to that, John Bull— shake your 
sapient ears, and understand that the pleasure of making 
the Irish miserable, costs you more than two millions per 
annum. Is the game worth it, honest John? If you think 
it so, continue it in the name of all that is mischievous, as 
long as you can, or as you dare. For my part, I do expect 
that the system will soon end. It is impossible it should 
dontinue, but what are my hopes ? Where are my expec- 
tation of relief? Not from the present ministry — certainly 
not. The ministers of the present day form a strange 
and heterogeneous knot of discordant statesmen. How can 
they tranquil ize the country when they are not agreed 
among themselves. Eldon, the tactless Eldon, presides 
B 2 



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over the group — perhaps I should say the gang. He, 
forsooth, is the mighty Judge of Equity. What equity 
does he do to Ireland ? I am told, and I am certainly 
inclined to believe it, except on State occasions, he has not 
been five times within the walls of a Church, and yet he is 
religious — all religious, forsooth. Yes, he is of that religion 
which brings him money, and continues him in power; yes, 
religion is of value to him, because he converts it into the 
instruments of increasing his wealth, and continuing his 
domination. How my soul burns with indignation when I 
think of the extreme meanness and depravity of converting the 
sacred law of Christianity into a kind of draw-farm for riches, 
into a machine for continuing domination and authority, and 
Unfortunate suitors await in misery the vacillation of his 
judgments, and the multiplication of his doubt; but when 
his own interests are concerned ; oh, no man can be more 
active, prompt, and decided. And he has the ready deter- 
mination of the late French emperor, when the question 
merely is to ameliorate the lot of seven millions of Irish 
Catholics. From him we have nothing to expect, nor from 
those who support him ; we have no means to gratify his 
avarice, or to sustain his unworthy ambition. Next is the 
vacillating, uncertain, timid Liverpool — a child of corruption 
from his youth — nurtured in Court sycophancy— incapable 
of one manly or dignified association of the human mind ; 
demonstrating the truth of the old adage, that it is surpris- 
ing how little common sense is necessary in order to rule the 
destinies of a great empire. Floating on that stream of cor- 
ruption, which is turning into rottenness the base on which 
stands British power ; and, while England looks on, acqui- 
escent or applauding, the foundation may be sapped, and 
the power and glory of England extinguished for ever. — i 
From us they will then have no sympathy to expect, because 
to us they have refused justice, and have preferred to the 
heart and affection of Ireland, the rule of a timid minion 
who has not dared to be honest, if he were bid to be an 
oppressor by any voice coming from near the throne. The 
next is Mr. Peel, a kind of scriptural statue — half useful 
metal, half painted clay — his utility derived from the lower 
classes, from which he has recently sprung • his useless 
china ware, badly cemented by the aristocratic mixture into 
which he has latterly emerged, with too much of common 
sense not to desire to be honest, but with too much of 
grovelling ambition to have the firmness to be virtuous ; 
from him Ireland may expect some missionary of incendiary 
strife, but can hope for nothing of godliness, kindness or 



5 



benevolence. Neither can Canning afford us any consola- 
tion — Mr. Huskisson, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Wynne, nor all 
the Grenvilles. There is a weakness and a wickedness in 
this discordant combination with the jarring elements of 
Eldon, Liverpool, and Peel, that stamp both parties as 
unqualified with the name of statesmen. Who can deny 
that the question of Catholic Emancipation is one of great 
importance ? It is one of paramount, of vital importance. 
Those who are ready to concede, and those who refuse 
concession, both join in admitting that importance. The 
destinies of Ireland, probably of the empire, depend upon 
it ; and yet, upon this most important measure the present 
Ministry is divided — almost equally divided. What, then, 
should be thought of a set of men who agree to share 
amongst themselves the spoils of office, without agreeing 
upon this vital subject ? One division of them only can be 
right — one detachment of them must be wrong. I stop not 
now to inquire which — but there they are, right and wrong. 
No, they have not even that chance of obtaining public 
respect — they are all wrong. They are wrong in concerting 
to act together to form a portion of the same Ministry. 
They demonstrate that principle cannot rule their councils. 
What is it then ? The love of place — the lust of power — 
the vulgar ambition of dispensing the emoluments and offices 
of the State. From this Ministry we can have no hope. 
From such a Ministry, branded as it is, by its own confession, 
with worthlessness — from such a Ministry it would be in 
vain to expect high-minded justice ; whilst they continue 
in power Ireland is consigned to despair. But I do not 
despair — I never will despair. I look abroad and I do not 
despair — I look at home and I no not despair. Abroad, I 
behold America is multiplying her Republic — extending 
the principles of civil and religious liberty — warring against 
despotism, and rendering the rights of humanity triumphant. 
From the multitudinous nations, tribes, and people — from 
the boundary line on the Canadian frontier to where Cape 
Horn beholds the waves of the great ocean commingle, 
despotism and injustice must be affrighted by the trium- 
phant voices of the sons of liberty. The winds of the west 
bear the sounds of freedom to the shores of Europe ; it is 
heard above the winter's storm — it comes sweetly on the 
summer's breeze, and, like magic music in the heavens, 
gladdens the ear of seven millions of Irishmen. In Catholic 
Portugal free institutions are already rearing their infant 
heads. France is strong, and mighty, and powerful. Spain, 
like the compressed volcano, may pour its lava when and 
where no one can tell. The frightful fever of the Gi n 

B 3 



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struggle which now shakes the minarets and mosques of 
Constantinople may, no one knows how soon, cause a trepi- 
dation amid the ginger-bread castles and school-boy palaces 
of Regent-street. The arch- Autocrat who rules, instead of 
his brother, the myriads of northern semi-savages, seem, 
just like the winds of iEolus in his cave, ready to burst forth 
and rend all the features of European civilization ; there is 
nothing, therefore, in the aspect of foreign affairs to make 
us despair of seeing Ireland become necessary for the well- 
being of England. There are many signs and circumstances 
of the times that call upon us to hope that our vacillating 
and unestimable Ministry may be compelled to yield the 
helm to men who would know how to form a new Holy 
Alliance with the People of Ireland — a Holy Alliance 
to raise England — to smile with contempt at any attempt at 
domestic dissatisfaction, or any menaces of foreign force. 
When I look at home the encouragement of my hope 
increases. England is suffering through all the channels of 
her manufacturing population — agricultural distress presses 
hard upon commercial ruin. The boasted paper prosperity 
of the Ministry has faded before the fatal policy of endea- 
vouring to pay the interest of eight hundred millions of" 
debt, and the expences of the State, with a gold currency. 
The dreamers who had dreamt a dream, that they could 
collect sixty millions of revenue in pure gold, or in paper of 
equal value, may be placed in St. James's, but they ought 
to be at St. Luke's. They may be in palaces — they ought 
to be in mad-houses. And yet the experiment is continued — 
they act like the Frenchman who, in bringing his horse to live 
without food, almost succeeded when the animal died. The 
very frame of civil society in England may burst in the pro- 
gress of the equally ludicrous, but more melancholy policy 
of our disjointed, but still adhesive Ministry. 

I rejoice not, nor am I capable of rejoicing at individual mi- 
sery; but I know that it was in the midst of England's distress 
that any portion of justice was doled out to Ireland, and there- 
fore my political hopes are not clouded by the unsettled 
state of our British neighbour. But my hopes are at home. 
I behold the increasing combination of Protestant, Presby- 
terian, and Catholic, throughout Ireland. I see the daily 
increasing harmony among all who are not under the 
influence of the fomenters of bad passions ; but, above all, 
I perceive the accumulating strength of the oppressed 
themselves. Whatever may be the effect of the present 
system, it certainly tends to diminish the number of the 
Catholics. Our numbers give us Constitutional strength. 
When we were less than one million it was that, that atrocious 



7 



aet of perfidy and injustice, the violation of the treaty of 
Limerick, was consummated. When we grew to two mil- 
lions, it was still safe to oppress us, and the iron hand of 
the fellest oppression lay heavy upon us. Statutes written, 
as Montesquieu has said, in letters of blood, continued to 
press upon the preceding statutes of iniquity. When we 
came to be about three millions, oppression ceased to increase, 
but still found it safe to continue her proud system. At 
four millions the mere clanking of our chains affrighted our 
enemies ; and in the apprehension, a considerable portion of 
this weight was taken off. W r e are now seven millions 
admitted; nay, the census now carrying into effect will 
show our numbers far beyond even seven millions. I say 
it not in menace, but 1 ask it in the tone of firmness, was it 
ever deemed safe to oppress seven millions ? Let the ques- 
tion be ruminated upon. I put it not in menace, but I put in 
sober solemnity to the British Ministry, and the British 
people. Let them not say that Irish misery can be traced 
to Irish causes. Let them not say that the evils of the land 
are to be attributed to Irishmen. They might say so, 
indeed, if the Parliament were Irish, and if the Government 
of the country was in the hands of Irishmen. If the Irish 
governed themselves then, indeed, would it be just to attri- 
bute to them the evils that pervade this country ; but it is 
equally just, at first, to attribute to England those miseries 
which affright the people of Ireland. It is just to do so, 
because England, for more than six hundred years, has 
governed and ruled the destinies of Ireland. For six 
hundred years she has misgoverned Ireland. It is enough 
to make the hardest heart weep tears of blood to think of 
the wretchedness of our native land, and to behold the 
determination on the part of England to continue the present 
system. May, Sir, I be permitted, in melancholy solemnity, 
to ask the reason why this system should be continued ? 
Can they say we refuse to be conciliated ? Can they pretend 
to assert that we have shown no disposition to meet in a 
cordial and conciliatory spirit, British kindness ? Every 
such pretext is vain. I myself was one of those who last 
year quitted our homes and occupations to prostrate ourselves 
and our country before the bar of British justice. We 
offered all that we could offer — we offered more than I would 
now offer ; or would now consent to accept emancipation 
upon the terms of giving : and how were we received ? 
Why, we were treated with insult and scorn, and blasphemous 
derision. Then issued a voice from the very footsteps of the 
throne, and it attested the Deity, that the Irish should forever 
continue slaves. The pliant Peel readily bowed before that 



8 



voice^-the vacillating Liverpool cringed beneath its sound, 
whilst the money-loving Eldon chinked his bags of gold, 
and rejoiced that bigotry could be still discounted into more 
pelf. There was a period of similar importance in the 
history of England — Franklin, Benjamin Franklin, with 
more of talent than any of us could boast, but with an 
equally sincere desire of combining America with England, 
and perpetuating the connection — the virtuous Franklin 
proffered the dutiful submission of the hearts and hands of 
America to be devoted to the service of England — and what 
did he require ? A mere act of justice. How was he re- 
ceived? With derision, contempt, and insult. England 
refused to be just. She laughed to scorn the force of Ame- 
rica. She even boasted, that by the night watch of a single 
parish, all the armed power of America could be put down. 
It was deemed safe to oppress, and oppression was therefore 
continued. The Americans forgot their feuds, banished 
their domestic dissensions, combined in patriotic determina- 
tion, rushed to arms, and, oh ! may Heaven be thanked for 
it, prostrated the proud standard of proud England in the 
dust, and discomfited her with all her chivalry. Our depu- 
tation last year was blamed for our over readiness to conci- 
liate, but what did that prove ? Our earnest anxiety to pro- 
mote the security and happiness of both countries, even by 
sacrificing ourselves. 

Popularity is said to be my idol. It is true I do love po- 
pularity, but I was ready to sacrifice it when I saw a pros- 
pect that by making that sacrifice I could combine Ireland 
and England into one common interest, and lay what I deem- 
ed a sure foundation for securing the happiness of both. 
But we too were rejected — we too were scorned. The blas- 
phemous oath was interposed between Ireland and her 
rights. Is this a safe course to pursue > I ask is it pru- 
dent? Is it wise ? They speculate upon the weakness of 
Ireland, We are more than seven millions. They specu- 
late upon our attachment to British connection, and that 
speculation is not vain, so far as it refers to us who have 
grown into maturer years, under impressions and with opi- 
nions favourable to that connection. They speculate upon 
our horror of blood and anarchy, of rebellion and crime. 
And they are right in that speculation. But let them not 
mistake our constitutional and conscientious submission to 
legal authority into any unwillingness and unfitness to exert 
alL our faculties mental and corporeal upon any fitting and 
constitutional occasion in the vindication of our natural 
rights as men, and our just privileges as subjects. The con- 
flict in his country's cause has in itself no terror for the 



9 



Irishman. The maturity of life has reached me in the strug- 
gle, but yet my step is firm, and my arm too is not unnerved. 
So that I should not feel any personal deficiency to deter 
me from joining in the battle's roar in the cause of my 
country. But I have been bred in the doctrines of dutiful 
submission to the constitution, and those who have acted 
with me and have grown into age around me, have partici- 
pated in the same sentiments. The speculation is therefore 
so far safe which reckons on our submission. But I am not 
without my perception of passing events and instigating 
causes. Yes, coming events do cast their shadows, and I 
behold many circumstances which enable me to anticipate 
the future history of Ireland. The rising generation is not 
as submissive as their fathers were. It may not be equally 
safe to treat us ill, as it is to ill treat them. The rising youth 
of Ireland appear to have their pulses beating with better 
blood, and I have remarked more than once that while I 
myself was tranquil, the eye of youth scarce reached be- 
yond childhood, was glistening with indignation at the his- 
tory of the six centuries of misgovernment which this coun- 
try has endured. This fiery youth, with hotter blood boil- 
ing in their veins, is accumulating fast around us. Whilst 
we of the old day live, we can and will restrain them. But 
when the grave has closed upon those who have been nur- 
tured in submission, and trained in the toils of patient en- 
treaty and constitutional prayer ; when we are removed, 
oh ! may England for her own sake, for the sake of huma- 
nity, and above all, to turn off the evils which even a suc- 
cessful struggle must inflict upon Ireland — may she learn to 
be wise in time, and to be just while she may be so with 
dignity and pride. May she never force, for she cannot 
otherwise do it, Ireland to imitate America. 

But may the concession of equal rights in fit time and 
season produce equal interests and render the combination 
and connection of the two countries a perpetual source of 
blessings to each, and of strength and security to both. 
What is it after all we require of England ? Nothing but 
an act of justice — a mere act of justice — a thing that would 
in nought impoverish her, while it would make us rich in- 
deed. Nay, it would be a double blessing — it would bless 
those who receive, and infinitely more it would bless and 
serve those who gave. Ought it not to provoke us almost 
to madness, to think that the system of exclusion and op- 
pression is continued by England without one plausible rea- 
son, or one sensible pretext for its continuance. It has, 
indeed, been said— oh ! how foolishly said, that conciliation 
towards Ireland would be in vain ; that our disturbances 



10 



would continue although the system were changed, and that 
tranquillity would not be insured, even by abolishing mis- 
government. Sir, I am a lawyer, we of the bar are in the 
habit of establishing our assertion by calling witnesses and 
citing cases, as much as by argumentation and reason.-— 
I assert that Ireland would be tranquillized by concession 
— that our disturbances would be terminated by a single act 
of justice. I submit to every rational man that it ought to 
be so in point of theory. Every reasonable being loves 
tranquillity. It is the interest, and must be the wish of 
every people to be at peace ; and in the history of the world 
no man can point out an instance where a country was 
disgraced by popular commotion, except when acted on by the 
powerful stimulants of injustice and oppression : but I will 
not be content with theoretic reasoning ; I am Counsel for 
all Ireland ; I am Counsel for Ireland, and as such I will 
proceed to cite cases, and deduce precedents, and call 
witnesses to prove this assertion, that when England has 
been oppressive and unjust to her provinces, she has pro- 
duced misery, disturbances, and continued outrage, and that 
the moment she has conceded equal rights and Constitutional 
protection, that instant, as if by magic, tranquillity, prospe- 
rity, and utility to the empire have infallibly ensued. My 
first witness I summon from the region of the dead ; I 
invoke the name of Edmund Burke — his spirit and 
genius again live in the pages that were produced by his 
immortal genius ; I refer to his speech on conciliation with 
America. At page 84, in the third volume of the edition 
of his works, printed in 1808, I find a case that powerfully 
illustrates the truth of my argument. Perhaps it is not 
generally known, indeed I believe it is almost entirely 
forgotten, that Wales was once the Ireland of the English 
Government. Listen to what the evil was, and how simple 
and efficacious was the remedy ; I read the words of Burke— 
* f My next example is Wales. This country was said to be 
reduced by Henry the Third — it was said more truly to be 
so by Edward the First, but though then conquered it was 
not looked upon as any part of the realm of England. The 
old Constitution, whatever that might have been, was 
destroyed, and no good one was substituted in its place — 
{' Oh, how like Ireland !') The care of that tract was put 
into the hands of Lords Marchers. Primate Boulter says 
that in Ireland they were called Lords Adventurers. A 
form of government of a very singular kind — a strange 
heterogeneous monster, something between hostility and 
government/' Here Mr. O'C. laid down the book jor a few 
moments. 



11 



I differ from Mr. Burke in many political opinions, 
but how sincerely do I thank him for the characteristic force 
of his language. Here, indeed, is the true description of 
the Irish Government. Here is an epitome of Irish history. 
We have it in one short sentence. I love to repeat it— " A 
strange heterogeneous monster — somethingbetween hostility 
and government I resume my quotation — " The manners 
of the Welch nation followed the genius of the government 
— the people were ferocious" — (they say we are so) ; " res- 
tive" — (we certainly are so) ; " savage" — (they accuse us of 
being so ; they treat us like brutes, and they are astonished, 
forsooth, that we do not meet that treatment with the grace 
of French dancing masters) ; " and uncultivated unculti- 
vated ! why they have passed Acts of Parliament to make it 
a felony to educate Catholics at home, and a premunire for 
Catholics to be educated abroad ; and then there have been 
beings found among the English base enough to accuse us 
of being uncultivated ; who — but I have interrupted myself 
— KB read the paragraph without breach or stop — " The 
manners of the Welch nation followed the genius of the 
Government ; the people were ferocious, restive, savage 
and uncultivated — sometimes composed, never pacified. — 
Wales within itself was in perpetual disorder, and it kept 
the frontier of England in perpetual alarm. Benefits from 
it to the State there were none. Wales was only known to 
England by incursion and invasion." (Substitute turbulence 
and insurrection, and what have you but the sometimes 
composed, never pacified state of Ireland.) I resume Burke's 
speech — " Sir, during that state of things Parliament was 
not idle — they attempted to subdue the fierce spirit of the 
Welch by all sorts of vigorous laws." (See what servile 
imitators the Peels, Eldons, and Liverpools of the present 
day are.) — " They prohibited, by Statute, the sending all 
sorts of arms into Wales." (Liverpool has done the same 
over and over again to Ireland.) " They disarmed the 
Welch by Statute." — (Peel has done the same with equal 
virulence to Ireland.) " They made an act to drag offenders 
into England, from Wales, for trial." (Judge Johnson's 
case proves that Lord Eldon has sanctioned an act of similar 
atrocity. Mark, I pray you, the next paragraph ) " By 
another Act, where one of the parties was an Englishman, 
they ordained that his trial should be always by English." 
(There is an instance of horrible English injustice for you !) 
But observe, such another Act, and if possible, an act of 
greater atrocity, is in force to this hour in Ireland. For it 
is a law to this moment, that in all issues under the Popery 
Laws, and nine-tenths of all the landed property in Ireland, 



12 



as at this very hour, — I repeat it, (and I say it delibe- 
rately, as a lawyer,) that nine parts, out of ten, are still 
affected, by the Popery Laws— it is enacted, that in all 
such issues, the juries shall be composed solely of known 
Protestants. It is not enough that the Protestants take the 
oath, and swear that the sacrifice of the Mass is impious and 
idolatrous. That will not do. — The Protestant, to be a juror, 
must be free of all possible submission to Popery. He must 
be, in the words of the law, a known, that is, an undoubted — 
aye, that is, an Orange Protestant. Mr. Peel's glory, is his 
Jury Bill — what a mockery in the man who opposes any 
relaxation of the law. I return to Burke — " To find what 
the effect of these prohibitory Statutes was, and to those 
precedents — all this while, Wales rid this kingdom like an 
incubus ; that it was an unprofitable and oppressive 
burden, and that an Englishman travelling in that country, 
could not get six yards from the road without being mur- 
dered. The march of the human mind is slow, Sir, it was 
not until after two hundred years discovered, that by an 
eternal law, Providence has decreed vexation to violence, 
and poverty to rapine." El don, Liverpool, and Peel, have 
not discovered it to the present hour ; but it was discovered 
in England in the reign of Henry the Eighth. Accordingly, 
in the 27th year of Henry the Eighth, a Statute was passed 
giving Wales all we ask — a share in the British Constitution. 
I read from Burke the result: would that all England 
would listen. u From the moment, as by a charm, the tu- 
mult subsided ; obedience was restored ; peace, order, and 
civilization followed in the train of liberty ; when the day- 
star of the English Constitution had arisen in their hearts, 
all was harmony within and without." Such is the first 
case I cite — such is the first fact I adduce to establish my 
assertion, that tranquility can be produced by a mere act of 
justice. The next instance is also given by Burke ; it is the 
county Palatine of Chester. There the same evils existed, 
while the inhabitants were kept out of the pale of the 
British Constitution. There the same remedy, an act of 
justice, was applied ; and the same tranquility and good 
order ensued. 

The next instance given by Burke, is the County Pala- 
tine of Durham. That county had also long lain out of 
the pale of free legislation ; and it was, during all that 
time, a scene of turbulence, disorder, and crime. The 
same identical remedy was applied, the privileges of the 
British Constitution, were participated by the people of 
Durham, and all was peace and harmony, and tranquility. 
Having cited these cases from Burke, 1 proceed to the well 



13 



known story of Scotland. For a century the English Go- 
vernment endeavoured to subdue the stubborn attachment 
of the Scotch to Presbyterianism, and with the point of the 
bayonet to enforce, as they have attempted in Ireland, the 
English Act of Parliament to fashion Christianity. They 
enacted pains and penalties, and enforced confiscations ; 
erected gibbets and made the scaffold flow with human 
blood ; but did they convert the Scotch Presbyterians ? No, 
they were just as unsuccessful with them as they then were, 
and have been since with the Irish Catholics, and like the 
Irish, the Scotch only clung the more firmly to their re- 
ligion, because it was persecuted by English injustice. The 
Scotch, indeed, did not put up with the system of persecu- 
tion as patiently as the Irish had done. They broke out 
often into open and avowed rebellion. They brought into the 
field horse and foot, and when they could get it, some artil- 
lery. They were often defeated, but they were never sub- 
dued. Scotland was then what Ireland is now, the weak- 
ness of England. Domestic dissension in England did all 
the time look to the aid of Scottish mal-contents, as perhaps 
some turbulent agitators in England, at this moment, may 
cast an eye upon Irish dissatisfaction ; and, certainly, at 
that period the foreign foes of the British Government 
availed themselves of the weakness induced by the unsettled 
state of Scotland, as they now speculate upon the ap- 
parently composed, but unpacified state of Ireland. At 
length, however, the proper remedy was applied to Scot- 
land. The persecution ceased. The Scotch attained, not 
mere toleration for their creed (what we require) but its actual 
establishment in the state, which we disclaim. Bnt what 
were the ffects of justice and conciliation to Scotland ? 
She became tranquil, and peaceable, and industrious ; an 
ornament to British literature — the best strength of the 
British Throne, and a main pillar of British power and 
independence. There remains another example of the 
effects of conciliation. It is the case of Canada. The Ca- 
nadians were naturally attached to France, their parent 
Country , but Britain, as soon as she conquered, wisely 
communicated to that province the benefit of the British 
law, and adjourned to Ireland her horror of Pope and 
popery — she gave perfect freedom of conscience to the Ca- 
nadian Catholics. The consequence has been, that the 
Catholic Canadians became, and have continued amongst 
the most orderly, as well as the most faithful subjects of the 
British crown, and the most steady adherents to British con- 
nexion. Have I by these instances proved my esse? Have 
C 



li 



I shown from the evidence of history that oppression has 
produced discontent and disorder, and justice has been 
followed by peace and tranquility ? If I have not, there 
remains one case more to be cited, differing in result, but to 
my judgment, more powerfully establishing my principle — ■ 
it is the case of America. — The iron hand of British pride 
pressed strong upon her ; she petitioned for justice ; her 
petitions were rejected with contempt. She supplicated ; 
she wept; she entreated even at the feet of British monopoly. 
Her prayers were scoffed at ; her entreaties were rejected ; 
her tears were derided. In drawling speeches, or in good 
phrases, the Eldons, Peels, and Liverpools of the day, 
(whilst they raised their eyes to Heaven) declared that in- 
justice was to be continued to man, They advised George 
the Third to refuse conciliation. George the Third un- 
fortunately adopted the mischievous and malignant council ; 
one of the brightest jewels fell from his crown, and America 
became free and independent. Thus the friends of con- 
ciliation pacified and preserved, Wales, and Chester, and 
Durham, and Scotland, and Canada. Thus the enemies of 
conciliation and justice lost America. Oh ! may their suc- 
cessors, in the fatuity and folly of refusing conciliation, be 
soon scouted from the offices they are so unworthy to fill. 
May Ireland, like America, not be lost ; but may she, like 
Scotland, be preserved to British connection, by sharing in 
British rights and British advantages. 

Shall it be said that my cases do not apply ; that Wales 
and Chester, and Durham, were of the same religion with 
their oppressors, and, therefore, more easily conciliated? 
The answer would be flimsy and idle : but the case of 
Scotland does not even afford that paltry excuse. The 
Scotch differed as much from the Episcopalian English as 
we do from either one or the other. But it may be said they 
were Protestants — even so; but have I not Catholic Canada 
to drive away even the shadow of resistance to my argu- 
ment? Aye, Catholic Canada, which observe, alone remain- 
ed faithful to British connection, when all that was Pro- 
testant in America, broke the chain, and effected a per- 
petual separation from England. Here I might rest my 
case; but some interested councillor may be heard to allege, 
that if the Irish Catholics stand in political power, they 
would become persecutors. He who says so, judges only 
from the depravity of his own heart, and is utterly ignorant 
of Irish history ; for I tell him that it is not matter of 
theory or speculation, but that history proves that the 
Irish persecuted Catholic may be entrusted with power, 



15 



without his entertaining any idea of retaliating persecu- 
tion. Fortunately the Irish Catholics have twice since the 
Reformation been in possession of all the political power of 
this country ; and I say it with truth undoubted — proudly 
and triumphantly do I say it, that upon both these occasions 
they evinced the genuine spirit of Christian charity. The 
first was in the reign of Queen Mary; during the entire reign 
of Edward VI. and in the closing year of that of Henry 
VIII. the Catholics of Ireland suffered a dreadful persecu- 
tion. They were subject to pains and penalties, and priva- 
tions ; their property was spoliated, their persons were out- 
raged, their altars overturned, their worship proscribed ; 
the sacred edifices dedicated to religion despoiled and de- 
vastated, presenting, even to this hour, the perpetual re- 
cord of the malignant barbarity of the reformers, and of 
the splendid and creative genius of the pious adherents to 
the Catholic faith in former ages. The mantling ruins that 
surround us, proclaim the tale of that day. Well ! amidst 
this scene of persecution, Edward died and Mary succeed- 
ed. This sovereign was not one who will be accused by 
Protestants of mitigating the disposition of her Irish sub- 
jects to persecute on account of religion. But the Irish Ca- 
tholics required no person to mitigate their hostility, for 
they took no revenge — they retaliated upon nobody— -they 
seized upon no Protestant's property— they imprisoned no 
Protestant's person — they spilled not one single drop of Pro- 
testant blood. In short, they exhibited the rare example of 
pardoning, even the living perpetrators of recent persecu- 
tion. This, this it is that makes me love the name of Irish- 
man. Here w T as an instance where recent aggresssion might 
well have animated hostility ; but no, the Catholics of Ire- 
land forgot all, save that it was a sacred duty not to tarnish 
their sacred faith by any persecution. So much for the 
reign of Queen Mary. She died, and the virgin Queen 
who succeeded her has erected a monument of woe in Ire- 
land. During her r^ign, and the consecutive reigns till 
James II. the Catholics were persecuted. The sanguinary 
monster Cromwell, the ferocious Ireton, the bloody Lud- 
low, strewed our fields with the dead, and deluged our 
cities with gore ; their holy biblical soldiery turning the 

pages of the Book of God with those stained hands with 

texts of Scripture overflowing from their savage lips— with 
the Bible in one hand, and the sword in the other, they ra- 
vaged cities, they despoiled the country, they slaughter- 
ed the inhabitants— the young by the side of the aged— - 
the mothers survived not their infants — the infants were 
C 2 



16 



slaughtered on the lifeless corpses of their mothers. Oh I 
Biblical Saints, how Ireland ought to abhor you ! How 
your pestilent presence ought to be avoided ! To this mo- 
ment you inherit the spirit of your murderous predecessors. 
You calumniate now where you slaughtered before, and 
your every word and action demonstrates that you want not 
the inclination but the power to bring back the bloody days 
of Ludlow, of Ireton, and of Cromwell. The Irish Ca- 
tholics endured the scenes I have fairly sketched. The sur- 
vivors of these horrors, or at least the children of these 
survivors, again obtained political power. In the reign of 
James the Second, the dominion of Ireland was in the hands 
of Catholics. Nine-tenths of the Parliament were Catho- 
lics. The Army was almost exclusively Catholic. For 
three years they had the almost undisturbed dominion of the 
land. The horrors they had passed through might have pal- 
liated — to some, indeed, might appear to justify, a perse- 
cution on their part. But did they persecute ? No ; thank 
Heaven, I can say, distinctly and proudly say, that they 
did not persecute. They exacted no penalties—they created 
no exclusions — they left the Protestant unharmed — they al- 
lowed perfect freedom of conscience to all — and standing 
upon the graves of the Catholics of that period, we can 
bless their memories for enabling us to proclaim that the 
Irish Catholics were twice in power ; that exasperated in 
recent wrongs and religious animosities, they twice attained 
power, in order to bequeath this legacy to ^their children, 
the precious fact that the Irish Catholics twice could, but 
did not persecute. 

Protestants of England, turn from our calumniators to 
the truth of our history, and if you cannot refuse to ad- 
mire, at least, for your own sakes, as well as ours, imi- 
tate the glorious example of the Irish Catholics in the 
reign of Mary and of James. But I confine not myself to 
the limits of this island, or the details of our history. 
There is one rivalry to which I would invite my Protestant 
friends. It is the rivalry of good feeling. It is the emula- 
tion of generous sentiment. Long have the rival vota- 
ries of different persuasions been engaged in a controversy 
of calumny and hate. Let us reverse the scene. Let us 
enter into a controversy of generous sentiments and bene- 
volent actions. Let us enter into an emulous detail of 
acts of liberality and justice. The Protestants of England 
have been educated in the grossest prejudice against their 
Catholic fellow-christians. They arrogated to themselves 
the boast of almost exclusive liberality. This arrogance was 



17 

the result of gross ignorance. For my part, I am ready to 
demonstrate that the Catholics have been the first in libera- 
lity — have been, and are, the most liberal towards dissen- 
tients from their faith. This is not mere assertion. I am 
ready with the proof. The first instance of liberality after 
the Reformation, was that which occurred in Maryland. 
Lord Baltimore, who planted that colony, had been a Pro- 
testant. He was a wise, a learned, and a most moral man. 
In spite of every human interest, he became a Catholic, from 
profound conviction. He was subsequently obliged to fly 
from his native land — the proud and boastful England, and 
seek for liberty of conscience amid the then wilderness of 
America. I have lately perused a speech pronounced in the 
State Legislature of Maryland, by a Presbyterian Gentle- 
man, a Mr. Kennedy, made to support a Bill to naturalise 
the Jews. He details the progress of religious liberty in 
America. From him, as well as from other sources, 1 can 
give some interesting dates and particulars. Virginia was 
planted by Church of England men, who persecuted the 
Presbyterians and other Protestant dissenters, even unto 
death. New England was peopled by rigid Presbyterians, 
who persecuted in return the Church of England-men also 
to death. In one thing, the New Englanders and Virgini- 
ans agreed, and in one thing only. It was in persecuting 
the Catholics with the usual rigorous hostility. Such was 
the state of religious persecution before and in the year 
IS49. In that year the Catholic State of Maryland, instead 
cf retaliating upon Virginia or New England — upon Pres- 
byterian or upon Protestant — did what ? Why, they pas- 
sed an Act of Legislature, giving expressly, to Chris- 
tians of all denominations, equal terms and equal rights. 
This Act continued in force only five years, because, alas ! 
in 16.54, the Calvinistic party obtained the dominion, 
aided as they were by the Cromwellian power at home. 
They repealed the Act of I649 — they passed a law, 
entitled, " An Act concerning Religion/' by which they 
gave freedom of conscience to all Protestant Dissenters, but 
expressly excluded all Papists and Prelatists. Evil times fol- 
lowed, and although the Catholics continued the most nu- 
merous party, yet they never were able to constitute a ma- 
jority of that State's Legislature until 1676, and the first 
moment they obtained such majority, they immediately re- 
pealed the Cromwellian law of 1654, and re-enacted civil 
liberty, by confirming and making perpetual the law of 
1649. They were able to preserve that religious freedom 
for all persuasions, from 1676 to 1692, when King William 
C 3 



18 



the Third, of glorious, pious, and immortal memory—who 
saved us " from Pope and Popery, brass money, and wooden 
shoes M — sent over a sufficient force to controul the State's 
Legislature, to expel the Catholic majority, and to exclude 
Catholics from power or authority, which was intitled— 
blasphemously intitled, " An Act for the service of God 
and the establishment of the Church of England." This 
law was one perfectly congenial to the ruling spirit of the 
Established Church ; but it went further— it provided a 
tax upon the people for the support of that Church ; it pro- 
vided that every white man should pay to the Protestant 
clergyman an annual tribute of forty pounds weight of to- 
bacco. This is what the shovel-hat gentry like ; the tax— 
the tax is always the thing for your Law Church Divines. 
And in 1702, they increased the tax to seventy pounds 
weight for each individual, and continued to exact that tax 
with a rigour to be equalled only by their fellow -labourers 
in Ireland, until the American Revolution. 

The essence of the Established Church being to collect 
as much money as possible for its Clergy, revenue is all they 
desire. Be it meal or malt, hot or heavy, this noble appe- 
tite is sufficient for all. In England they take it in pigs and 
poultry ; in Ireland, they lay their rapacious paws upon po- 
tatoes and wool, wheat and barley, oats and green grass. 
In America, they could not get it otherwise, they took it in 
stout rapparee tobacco. But behold the epitome of the his- 
tory of Maryland ; when the Presbyterians had power 
then they persecuted Papists and Prelatists ; when the Pre- 
latists were in power, they than persecuted Presbyterians 
and Papists ; when the Catholics were in power, they 
persecuted neither Presbyterian nor Prelatist, nor any 
sect, but gave perfect freedom of conscience to christians 
of all denominations. There is one fact untold respecting 
Catholic liberality in Maryland, which I wish I had a trum- 
pet loud enough to call on all England to hear. Who was 
it advised the liberal law of 1 649 ? Who was it wrote every 
letter, word, and line of that Statute ? Is England prepared 
to hear the answer? It was one of that class who have 
been persecuted, and are still calumniated, but who, in my 
judgment, deserved to be placed among the benefactors of the 
human race. It was — hear it, calumny ! — it was a Jesuit. 
I should detain you all day if I were to continue to cite 
instances of Catholic liberality. Oh, that I were speaking 
to the people of England, But I say, that that English 
Journal which takes so deep an interest in Irish affairs, I 
mean the Morning Herald, has in this assembly some of its 



19 



accurate reporters. Perhaps through them the people of 
England may hear much — if it be worth preserving, of 
-what I have said. If so, let them add, that the Cortes which 
met at Cadiz, composed though it was, of more than three- 
fourths actual Priests, decreed the abolition and destruction 
of the Inquisition, and that salt and ashes should be strewed 
over the spots where its prisons stood — spots consecrated to 
the eternal detestation of every liberal and free-minded 
Catholic. Let it also be recorded, that in Catholic France 
Protestants enjoy not a nominal, but a real equalization of 
civil rights — their persons respected — their Churches pro- 
tected — their Clergy paid, more amply paid than the 
Catholic Clergy by this Catholic State. Let it be remem- 
bered, too, that the Catholic Diet of Hungary, in the year 
1 792^ gave the most perfect religious freedom to their 
Protestant fellow-countrymen ; and although the Protestants 
of Hungary did not constitute one-fourth of the population 
pf that country, yet they obtained one-half of the Churches, 
and one-half of the tithes. And lastly, that the Catholic 
king of Bavaria has recently emancipated — perfectly and 
unconditionally emancipated his Protestant subjects; and 
not only bestowed free Institutions on all his subjects, but 
has raised the Protestants from a state of exclusion to a 
complete participation in all the rights, advantages, powers, 
and offices in their native land. I have spoken distinctly, 
and, I hope, boldly. I have uttered that which many 
think, but few have the resolution to express. My motives 
will be maligned, and my views calumniated. Oh ! be it so, 
Those objects, however, I deem just and honourable ; and 
even more useful to England than to Ireland. I call for 
conciliation, that Ireland may be tranquil, and England 
strong ; that Ireland may be in prosperity, and England 
secure. I call for justice, that mutual interests may render 
the connection between these countries indissoluble, and 
identify the Government of both with the people of each. 
It is more foolish than it is wicked to refuse our humble 
prayer. 

Chance has furnished us with an excellent illustration of 
the system. Accident has brought amongst us the venera- 
ble Earl of Fitzwilliam. About thirty-two years ago he came 
here the harbinger of that wise policy which I now humbly 
implore. He came to make Ireland part and parcel of 
Britain — to consolidate the strength, and increase the 
resources of the empire. But his projects were marred, and 
his virtuous intentions rendered fruitless. The Established 
Church, with the bloody Beresfords at their head, drove him 



20 



from our shores. This system has worked its dreary way 
— the lash has been applied — the torture has been inflicted 
— bad passions have been kept alive, and goaded and insti- 
gated. One bloody rebellion has been succeeded by another 
— insurrection has responded to disturbance, and one public 
atrocity has been exceeded by that which followed. We 
tread a volcanic land ; the combustible materials ferment, 
and boil, and bubble beneath us ; bursts of smoke, and 
lighter flashes of uprising flame denote the mighty mischief 
within ; and he is a /bold prophet] who can tell at what 
period the earthquake shall shake the mountains. 



Mr. SHEIL'S 



DESCRIPTION OF A 

ROTUNDA MEETING OF "THE ELECT," 

IN A SPEECH AT THE CATHOLIC ASSOCIATION. 



Mr. SHEIL — I rise to second the resolution, " That we 
have read with indignation the calumnies of Mr. Butter worth 
upon the Catholic Clergy/' His assertion, that the Priests 
gave a signal to the people at Carlow to drive their oppo- 
nents from the field, is destitute of foundation. Enough of 
this canting bibliopolist, who would bind up the gospel of 
Christ and the statutes of Queen Anne together. Thank 
God his efforts, and those of the party whom he so fitly 
represents, are frustrated. A wiser spirit has begun to 
manifest itself in the House of Commons with regard to the 
education of the Irish people. Evidence has been afforded 
in the recent debates, and especially in the late discussion 
which was originated by Mr. Smith, that the Kildare-street 
Association will speedily be divested of that national 
trust, against the abuse of which we have so frequently, so 
vehemently, so justly, and, I may now add, we have so 
successfully complained. Our remonstrances have been 
heard — a system of instruction, compatible with the ancient 
religion of the country, will, in all likelihood, be speedily 
introduced. The account of the proceedings in the House 
of Commons, upon the presenting of a petition against the 
misfeasances of the Kildare-street Society, were calculated 
to afford a higher satisfaction in consequence of the mani- 
festation of inveterate fanaticism, which, within these few 
days, has taken place in this city. I allude to the convoca- 
tions which were held during the last week at the Rotunda. 
One would be at first disposed to think that there was 
something inappropriate in the localities selected for those 
fantastic exhibitions ; but the truth is, that no spot could 
have been more felicitously chosen for the assemblage of the 
fair enthusiasts, who were called together for the purpose 
of imbibing the holy spirit of the powerful " teachers 



22 



of the Word/' than the very useful asylum which is dedi- 
cated to Lucina, and sacred to the ministry of the obstetric 
art. How apparently distinct, but how substantially coin- 
cident, are the uses to which the Rotunda is converted ! — 
Alternately a ball-room and a conventicle — at night the 
scene of waltzes, and at noon the theatre of prayers, it 
presents ostensibly different pictures to the imagination; 
but, after all, the occupations to which it is devoted, gene- 
rally lead to the same result, Mr, Bankes, the pious and 
moral representative of the University of Cambridge, intend- 
ing to say that he was favourable to a particular system of 
religion, because it led to an intercourse between the diffe- 
rent sects, happened to speak the truth by mistake, and 
adopted a form of phrase which excited the risible disposi- 
tions of the House. He unconsciously did no more than 
give utterance to an opinion which David Hume has happily 
expressed in speaking of " the passions which so naturally 
insinuate themselves in the warm intimacies that arise 
between the devotees of the different sexes," In this view* 
of the matter there is nothing very incongruous between the 
purposes to which the Rotunda is alternately devoted. The 
sigh at a quadrille is not more impassioned than the suspira- 
tion at a homily — the whisper of Lothario is not more 
perilous than the cadences of Cantwell — and the field- 
preacher has fully as much unction as the dragoon. While 
I am free to confess my belief, that many of the persons who 
frequent the assemblies to which I have been alluding, are 
influenced by genuine and unadulterated enthusiasm, yet I 
could not help feeling, at one of the Biblical convocations 
held last week at the Rotunda, which a somewhat malicious 
curiosity induced me to attend, that there is as much real 
worldliness, under the disguise of spirituality, at these Scrip- 
tural gatherings, as is usually exhibited in places which are 
openly and avowedly dedicated to " Satan and his works." 
There was at the late assemblies a more numerous muster of 
"The Elect" than has for some time taken place. The 
pious of both sexes flocked together from all parts of the 
country. An ordinary observer must have been struck by 
the increase of puritanical visages in the streets. I was 
tempted, by no very sympathetic feeling, to attend at one 
of their discussions ; and if I saw much matter for disgust 
in the acrimonious, malevolent, and unrelenting spirit which 
was manifested towards the religion of the people, I could 
not, at the same time, help being amused at the solemn 
foppery, the serious vanity, the spiritual coquetry, the pious 
ogling, and the demure flirtation which were exhibited on 



23 



the occasion. Upon entering the assembly, I found a gentle- 
man delivering himself of certain conceptions, the purport 
of which I could not distinctly collect, except that occasion- 
ally the words " darkness and idolatry," with some references 
to Babylon, Anti- Christ, and the Pope, gave a tolerable 
intimation of the tendency of his discourse. He was not 
sufficiently frantic to be amusing — but seemed to be some 
dull impostor, without any other qualification than a disas- 
trous physiognomy for his melancholy trade, My attention 
lot being roused by the dismal mediocrity of the orator, I 
;urned to survey the congregation. It exhibited a great 
diversity of character. The majority of the male part of 
;he audience had that lurid expression — that church-yard 
ook, which belongs to sectarian fanaticism, and is so distinct 
xom the cheerful enthusiasm of the Catholic religion. The 
;lass I am describing appeared to me to belong to the lower 
>rder of Protestants. There was a fierceness about them 
;hat indicated that they had never been softened by the 
nfluences of education ; for they exhibited an odious con- 
unction of the original savageness of their nature, with the 
irtificial ferocity of a fanatical religion. The contrast 
)etween them and another class was striking. I allude to 
he glossy-faced, downy-cheeked, and ample-bellied of " the 
ilect," who invest their lips with a perpetual simper, and 
over their faces with an expression of elaborate meekness 
nd ostentatious humility. These are your prosperous 
raders in the commodities of this world and of the next — 
ellows w r ho are free of Dublin and of " the new Jerusalem" 
—drapers in linen and religion — tailors who will cut you out 
nth the same facility a creed and a surtout — vendors of 
Sibles and of pasquinades, and all that tribe of canting, 
mirking, ejaculating citizens, to whose counters the devout 
vm pathetically resort. Intermingled with them, and with 
3me affinity of aspect, I observed divers preachers of the 
ospel, of inferior note, who wisely realize the blessings of 
le Old Testament, by enforcing the precepts of the New, 
Iany of them had passed the meridian of life, and seemed 
) think it wiser to addict themselves to some ancient maiden 
dth " a call," than to any other more interesting, but less 
opeful speculation. But a more striking, and, let me add, 
iviable class, w T ere the young, the graceful, and sweet- 
)irited lispers of the gospel, who teach the rigid doctrines 
f Calvin, with the impassioned tenderness of Abelard ; 
lough they were attired in sables of the most studied 
mplicity of fashion, there was still a lurking foppery about 
lem. Every proportion was brought as if carelessly and 



24 

undesignedly out, and attaining the excellence of art by its 
disguise, they exhibited their healthful forms to the opulent 
and beautiful devotees, beside whom they were placed in a 
close and interesting contact. Whether the blush upon the 
faces of certain of those pious damsels arose from the heat 
which was produced by the compactness of the crowd, or 
had its origin in the holy whispers which were occasionally 
breathed into their ears, I will not take upon myself to aver, 
but I cannot avoid thinking, that many of the ardent incuU 
cators of "gospel truth" who sat beside them, seemed to 
have fallen into the errors of Popery, and to be zealously 
and successfully engaged in the Invocation of Saints, It 
must be acknowledged, that many of the objects of their 
spiritual admiration would have afforded models of celestial 
loveliness to a painter, and assisted his conceptions of the 
" beau ideal" of heaven. At all events he could not have 
been at a loss for a Magdalen amongst them. The ecstatic 
look of devotion is a great heightener of expression, and a 
woman's eyes are never so beautiful as when they are raised 
to heaven. When sublunary affections intermingle themselves 
with devotion, the compound produces a fine physical effect, 
and realizes the panygeric of a Protestant Bishop upon a 
lady, when he exclaimed, "that she was the connecting link 
between the female and the angelic nature." The fair 
votaries at the Rotunda appeared to have apportioned their 
attachment between thelove of God andofhis creatures, Their 
eyes were occasionally lifted in adoration, but at intervals 
were tenderly and surreptitiously directed to their compa- 
nions of the other sex, whose exhortations were, I presume, 
tinctured with the phraseology of the divine pastoral of 
Solomon, and redolent with the spirit of high and holy 
love. Far be it from me to insinuate that any impurity of 
sentiment was mingled with those pious interchanges of the 
heart. True it is, that I did observe certain celebrated 
dames, who have occasioned "much joy in heaven," and 
whose charity is entitled to the full extent of Scriptural 
panegyric. The "Fair Penitents "—the Calistas of sixty, 
held a prominent place at the meeting. I do not, however, 
mean to impute any remnant of their youthful addictions to 
those pious matrons, in whom time has approved himself 
a corrector of the passions ; and with respect to the 
younger portion of the congregation, without disputing that 
excitement of the temperament which ill-directed enthusiasm 
is calculated to produce, 1 should be disposed to say, that 
no immoral results arise from the pious sympathies of the 
devout, and that their holy intimacies generally terminate lit 

- 



25 



a permanent co-partnership of the heart. I have expatiated 
so much upon the fairer and more interesting portion of the 
congregation, that I shall not at present attempt any descrip- 
tion of the other features in the assembly deserving of note. 
The lugubrious oratory of the speakers, and the spirit of 
Pharisaical imposture which characterised the declamation 
of the day, would furnish ample materials for comment. 
One word upon the Chairman — Lord Roden presided. We 
have his own authority for stating, that, like the Apostle of 
the Gentiles, he received a special summons from the Lord. 
Whether what he takes for a ray from heaven may not be 
some stray moon-beam that has fallen upon his mind — 
whether his heart has been touched, or that pulp, of which 
the brain is compounded, has become diseased, I shall not 
stop to enquire. His religion, if it were unconnected with 
his politics, would merely excite derision ; but when we 
find him infusing Orangeism into Christianity, we require 
a large portion of that charity, of which he is so ostentatious 
a professor, not to look at him w T ith a feeling of a very 
acrimonious kind. The hatred which is manifested in this 
country to the propagators of the Scriptures, arises, in a 
great measure, from political causes. Is it wonderful that 
they should become the objects of our antipathy, and that 
our detestation for their politics should extend itself to their 
religion, when we find them arrayed in a systematic opposi- 
tion to the liberties of our country ? — the same sentiment 
prevails through every gradation of rank, and from Rcden 
to Butterworth they are the foes of Ireland. How can it be 
matter of surprise, that when the spirit of tyranny and of 
fanaticism are allied, we should hate the fanatic when v, e 
cannot but detest the tyrant ? Can we avoid looking with 
abhorrence upon the propagators of the Scriptures, who 
come to us with the Bible in one hand and with the penal 
code in the other ? 



MR. SHEIL's SPEECH 

IN REPLY TO 

MR. M'CLINTOCK. 



Mr. M'CLINTOCK, a Protestant Gentleman of rank 
and fortune in the county of Louth, having attended a Ro- 
man Catholic Meeting, held in the chapel of Dundalk, and 
delivered a speech, containing strictures on the Catholic re- 
ligion. 

Mr. SHEIL rose immediately after Mr. M'Cliritock 
had concluded, and said, The speech of Mr. M'Clintock 
(and a more singular exhibition of gratuitous eloquence 
I have never heard) call for a prompt and immediate ex- 
pression of gratitude. He has had the goodness to advise 
us (for he has our interests at heart) to depute cer- 
tain emissaries from the new Order of Liberators to his Ho- 
liness at Rome, for the purpose of procuring a repeal of 
eertain obnoxious canons of the Council of Latern. If Mr. 
M'Clintock had not assured us that he was serious, aed 
and was not actuated by an anxiety to throw ridicule upon 
the religion and proceedings of those whom he has taken 
under his spiritual tutelage, I should have been disposed to 
consider him an insidious fanatic, who, under the hypocri- 
tical pretence of giving us a salutary admonition, had come 
here with no other end than to fling vilification upon our 
creed, and to throw contumely upon the persons who take 
the most active part in the conduct of our cause. But know- 
ing him to be a person of high rank and large fortune, and 
believing him to possess the feelings as well as the station of 
a gentleman, I am willing to acquit him of any such unwor- 
thy purpose, and do not believe that his object in address- 
ing us, was to offer a deliberate and premeditated insult. 
He did not, I am sure, (for it would be inconsistent with 
the character which I have ascribed to him) enter this 
meeting for the purpose of venting his bile into our faces, 
and voiding upon his auditory the foul calumnies against 
the religion of his countrymen, which furnish the ordinary 
materials of rhetoric in the Bible Societies, of which he is so 
renowned a member. He did not come here to talk of the 



27 



Pope's golden stirrups to a mass of ignorant and unenlight- 
ened people, and to turn their belief into ridicule with his 
lugubrious derision. The topics which he selected were, 
indeed, singularly chosen, and when he talked of the Order 
of Liberators, I was disposed to take him for a wag : — But 
I raised my eyes and looked him in the face, and perceiving 
a person, whose countenance would furnish Cruikshank 
with a frontispiece to the Spiritual Quixotte, I at once ac- 
quitted him of all propensities to humour, and could not 
bring myself to believe it possible that Mr. M'Clintock had 
ever intended to be droll. At one moment I confess I was 
in pain for him, for I was apprehensive that the language 
in which he expressed himself in regard to our clergy, and 
and the forms and habitudes of Popery, would be apt to 
excite the indignation of a portion of this immense audi- 
tory ; but the spirit of courtesy prevailed over the feelings 
of the people, and so far from having been treated with dis- 
respect, he was listened to with more than ordinary indul- 
gence. He excited less of our anger than of our commis- 
seration. I am upon this account rejoiced that he should 
have undertaken an exploit of this kind. We have given 
him evidence, at all events, that however intolerant the 
theory of our religion may appear to him, we are prac- 
tically forbearing and indulgent. We allowed him to in- 
veigh against the bridle and saddle of the Pope, without a 
remonstrance ; we permitted him to indulge in his dismal 
merriment, and his melancholy ridicule, without a mur- 
mur; he will therefore have derived a useful lesson from 
his experiment upon the public patience, and when he shall 
recount to his confederates of the Bible Society his achieve- 
ments amongst us, he will have an opportunity of telling 
them that we are far more tolerant of a difference of opinion 
than the pious auditory which Mr. M'Clintock is in the habit 
of addressing. I have occasionally attended meetings of 
the Bible Society, and observed that whoever ventured to 
remonstrate against the use of the Apocalypse as a Spelling 
Book, incurred the indignation of the assembly. I remem- 
ber to have heard it suggested, that the amatory pictures 
which are offered to the imagination in the Canticle of Can- 
ticles, were not exactly fitted to the private meditation of 
young ladies, when the countenances of the fair auditors 
immediately assumed an expression of beautiful ferocity, 
and they looked like angels in a passion. Henceforth, 
however, Mr. M'Clintock may be able to refer to the exam- 
ple of his Roman Catholic auditors in recommending to his 
pretty votaries at the Bible Society, that meekness and 
D 2 



28 



forbearance of which the Roman Catholic ladies have this day 
afforded a model. In this view the exhibition of Mr. 
M'Clintock may be considered as likely to be productive of 
some utility. But, after having thus endeavoured to convey 
to him an expression of the gratitude which we feel for this 
interposition of his advice, it is right that I should, after 
giving him every credit for the benevolent sincerity of his 
motives, examine into the details of his admonition, and 
endeavour to ascertain how far it is judicious upon our part 
to follow the course which he has taken on himself to point 
out ; let me, however, be allowed to make one preliminary 
remark. On rising he informed us, that he merely obeyed 
the impulse of the moment, and yielded to the sudden 
suggestions of the Spirit, in communicating his advice. I 
was not a little surprised, that he immediately afterwards 
produced a series of voluminous extracts from the theological 
history of the Catholic Church, which, together with certain 
facetious references to the Cardinals, constituted the substance 
of his discourse. In any other man I should take this ela- 
borate accumulation of ecclesiastical learning as evidence 
that he had made some preparation for a somewhat adventu- 
rous enterprise, and that he had come furnished with a 
panoply from the armoury of heaven. I should have 
supposed that he had taken some time in collecting so many 
weapons of celestial temper. But Mr. M'Clintock is a 
peculiar favourite above ; he was supplied, no doubt, with 
these valuable notes by a preternatural means ; some angelic 
influence must have been exercised in his favour, and a hand 
invisible to our profaner eyes, furnished him on the instant 
with those large extracts from the Canons of the Council of 
Later an. 

[Here Mr. M'CLINTOCK rose with some appearance of 
displeasure, and said that Mr. Sheil was misrepresenting 
him. He had stated that he had the notes for some time in 
his pocket.] 

Mr. SHEIL — I certainly had understood that Mr. M'Clin- 
tock intimated that he had come without preparation to this 
meeting. I am now, however, to understand that he is not 
indebted for his recondite erudition to any sudden irradiation 
from heaven, but that he previously accumulated this mass 
of citations against Popery. Indeed, the external aspect of 
the document sustains his present allegation, for the " Sybil- 
line leaves" which were produced by him, seemed a little 
sear and faded. I perceive that Mr. M'Clintock does not 
take the remarks which I have presumed to make in very 
good part. In the Evangelical Societies where he makes so 



29 



conspicuous a figure, lie has it all his own way. He is not 
much accustomed to the collisions of intellect which are 
incident to popular debate ; but he must not expect that a 
person having so much veneration as I have for the Pope's 
bridle and saddle, to which he has adverted with such a 
pleasant unction, should not return his compliment to my 
religion and give him a few hints upon his own. Mr. 
M'Clintock is no ordinary person. He is the uncle of Lord 
Roden, and the near relative of Lord Oriel ; he is, besides, 
nearly allied to the Archbishop of Tuam, of Biblical 
renown, and has obtained no little notoriety by his episto- 
lary controversies with Doctor Curtis. The observations of 
such a man ought not to be allowed to pass without com- 
ment; I shall, therefore, proceed. Mr. M'Clintock recom- 
mends us to procure a repeal of the Canons of the Council 
of Lateran. I am apprehensive that Mr, M'Clintock has 
blinded himself with the dust of those ponderous folios 
which he must needs have studied,, in order to exhibit such 
a farrago of theology as he has produced to-day. The 
Councils of Nice, of Constance, of Lateran and of Trent, are 
as familiar to him as " household words." He has thrown 
them into what the lawyers call a hotch-potch together. I 
shall not undertake to follow him through so much dark 
and mysterious erudition ; but, at the same time, I shall 
grapple with the principle upon which his reference to the 
Councils are founded. He tells us that we ought to procure 
a repeal of the denunciations agaii^t heresy before we can 
expect emancipation. I beg leave to suggest the propriety 
of putting Mr. M'Clintock into Parliament in place of his 
kinsman, Mr. Leslie Foster, in order to enable him to move 
for a repeal of the laws against witchcraft, passed by a 
Protestant Legislature in the reign of James I. Thus a 
three-fold object will be attained. We shall, in the first 
place, get rid of Mr. Leslie Foster ; in the second place we 
shall reward Mr. M'Clintock for his well-meant admonitions; 
and in the third place we shall afford an opportunity to Mr. 
M'Clintock of giving the same earnest exhortations to his 
fellow T -legislators to relieve their religion from the odium 
with which the enactments of superstition ought to be 
pursued. But let me put the language of mockery aside, 
and ask Mr. M'Clintock whether it be not as unjust to 
charge the Catholics of the nineteenth century with edicts 
passed some centuries ago, as it would be to impute to the 
Protestant religion the fanatical absurdity which dictated 
the statute against the '* feeders of evil spirits," It is 
perfectlv obvious that Mr, M'Clintock has conveyed a charge 
D 3 



30 



of intolerance in the shape of advice. He deserves a serious 
answer. I shall, in the first place, point out the circum- 
stances under which any denunciations against heresy were 
pronounced by the assembled hierarchy of the Christian 
world. I shall shew, in the second place, that the spirit of 
Protestantism was, at one period, fully as sanguinary 
and ferocious as that which Mr. M'Clintock has ascribed 
to the genius of Popery, in what he might call the night 
of its darkest domination. And I shall give proof to 
Mr. M'Clintock, in the third place, that while the faith of 
Roman Catholics remains unchanged, the principles by 
which the civil executive enforced an uniformity of creed 
have been long since abandoned. If, like Mr. M'Clintock, 
I were a reader of Saint Peter without note or comment, I 
might refer him to the second chapter, in which he speaks 
of "false teachers who shall bring in damnable heresies 
but I know that Mr. M'Ciintock has no great relish for St, 
Peter, or for his successors. The Roman Catholic divines 
were sufficiently fluent in quoting the authority of the 
Scriptures, when the State deemed it expedient to call 
their sanction in aid of the enactments of civil policy. Good 
warrant for the writ, c< de haeretico combitrendo" might 
readily be found in the Testament, both Old and New. 
But I thank God that it was never a part of the faith of 
Roman Catholics, that the light of the Gospel ought to be 
propagated with the faggot, or that the darkness of heresy 
ought to be dispelled with the flames of an auto defe. There 
is a manifest distinction between faith, which consists of a 
belief in certain religious tenets, and the practical measures 
by which that faith is sought to be enforced. A belief in 
transubstantiation is a part of our creed, but the punish- 
ment of heresy is matter not of belief but of regula- 
tion, and cannot be said to constitute any portion of the 
Roman Catholic faith. It is perfectly true, that at a 
period when the Roman Catholic religion was the only form 
under which Christianity was professed, a system of disci- 
pline was adopted, of which the object was to repress 
innovation, and it would be easy to find many plausible 
arguments among Protestant divines in support of that 
restraint upon novelties in religion, which, under the pre- 
tence of preserving the repose of society, were introduced by 
the lawgivers of a darker age. The intimate connexion 
between the State and the Church, produced ordinances in 
the one, which were intended to be the props of the other. 
By a reciprocity of corruption, they infected each other 
Statesmen were turned into Divines, and Divines into 



31 



Statesmen. This was an unnatural transformation, and 
produced the worst results. If we enter into a comparison 
of the enormities committed by the Catholics in opposing, 
or the Protestants in extending, the doctrines of the Refor- 
mation, perhaps it would be difficult to strike a balance of 
atrocity between them. If any excuse could be urged, (but 
there can be none) it might be suggested on the part of the 
professors of the old religion, that they were, to use a legal 
illustration, in possession of the estate, and opposed every 
casual ejector, who came to trespass on their exclusive 
property in heaven. The Protestants who throw imputa- 
tions on our Church, should consider the position from 
which their projectiles are flung, and should remember that 
they live in houses of brittle materials. It is notorious that 
almost, with the single exception of Melancthon, all the 
earlier Reformers were infuriated persecutors. After hunt- 
ing Popery down, they turned like mad wolves upon each 
other. The progress of the Reformation is tracked with 
fire and blood. It is unnecessary to go through the details 
of enormity on the Continent, but as Mr. M'Clintock seems 
to belong to the Calvinistic department of Christianity, ( I 
should so collect from his aspect) he will pardon me for 
referring him to Geneva, that metropolis of orthodoxy, for 
illustrations of the peaceful and forbearing spirit with which 
the Fathers of the Reformed Religion enforced their Reve- 
lations. They tortured, they emboweled, they consumed 
with slow fires whoever presumed to question their delega- 
tion from heaven. But let us turn to England. It is but a 
few days since I perused a letter by that martyr of the 
Reformation, the detestable Crammer, in which he writes, 
that inasmuch as one Fryth did not think it necessary to 
believe in the corporal presence of Christ in the Sacrament, 
and held, in this point, much after the opinion of CEcolam- 
padius, it was necessary to hand him over to the secular 
power, " where," as Cranmer says, "he, Fryth, looked every- 
day to go to the fire." Well might he exclaim, " this guilty 
hand well might the Patriarch of the Reformation, while 
he was himself perishing at the stake, utter that terrific cry 5 
but he should have applied it not to the recantation of his 
opinions, but to the sanguinary misdeeds to which that hand 
had given its sanction. If the mother of Fryth had stood 
beside him, might she not have cried, " Your groans are 
like the groans of my son, and your screams remember me 
of his cries," But why refer to Cranmer, when I may resort 
to the amiable and benevolent Henry, the Father of the 
English Reformation. Protestants disclaim that celebrated 



32 



Prince ; but really they should be held responsible for his 
barbarities, when they impute to us every delinquency 
practised by the professors of our creed. Let them deny it 
as they will ; if we trace the Protestant religion to its foun- 
tain-head, however it may have been purified in its progress, 
we shall find its sources stained with blood. But perhaps 
Mr. M'Clintock will say, that it pleased Providence to 
choose an unworthy instrument, in the ferocious Henry, for 
the accomplishment of its sacred purposes ; and that when 
we find the cradle of their religion rocked in murder, 
adultery, and incest, we see an exemplification of the teiW 
dency of Heaven to deduce good from ill. It must be 
confessed, that Providence displayed a somewhat fantastic 
and capricious taste in choosing an execrable tyrant for the 
execution of its holy designs. It may be said, that the light 
only dawned in the mind of Henry — that the Spirit did not 
visit him in its fullest illumination — and that although the 
morning of the Reformation was dark and gloomy, and 
many a bloody cloud attended the ascending luminary, yet 
that in sl little while the truth appeared in all its glory, and 
spread into the full splendour of day. Well, let me pass at 
once to the 27th of Elizabeth, by which it was enacted, that 
" every Romish Priest should be hanged until he was half 
dead, then should have his head taken off, and his body cut 
in quarters— that his bowels should be drawn out and 
burned, and his head fixed upon a pole in some public 
place/' What will Mr. M'Clintock say to this? Does he 
think the charge of intolerance is justly confined to the ' 
religion of Rome ? I will not pursue the spirit of persecu- 
tion through the variety of legislative enactments in which 
it is exemplified. What need I do more than refer to the 
Penal Code enacted in this country, by which the son was 
incited to revolt against the father, and parricide was con- 
verted into a sort of political duty by the law. It was of 
this Code that Sir Toby Butler said, " It is enough to make 
the hardest heart bleed to think on't/' It would be an 
almost endless labour to go through all the proofs, with 
which history may be said to teem, of the ferocious spirit by 
which sectarian power has been almost uniformly displayed. 
I can readily produce gibbet for gibbet against Mr. M'Clin- 
tock ; and the only difference between us would be, that 
Catholics had a larger field for the exercise of that unfortu- 
nate tendency, which appears to belong to the nature of 
man. The Protestants, however, made good use of their 
time. The truth is, that both parties are to blame, and 
should avoid this recriminating retrospect. How much 



33 



more wise it would be of Mr. M'Clintock, instead of refer- 
ing us to the Council of Lateran, to refer his fellow-believers 
to the progress of events, to the universal diffusion of intel- 
ligence, and the material change which the religion both of 
Catholics and of Protestants has undergone. The sphere of 
human knowledge has advanced, and the Catholic Church 
has been carried along in the universal progression. Our 
faith is the same, but our system of ecclesiastical government 
is wholly changed. Persecution cannot be considered as 
an ingredient of a man's creed. It may, indeed, be the 
result of his principles, but cannot be considered as of the 
essence of his belief. It were wiser for Mr. M'Clintock to 
look at the declarations of the Catholic Universities, denying 
the abominable doctrines imputed to us — to the recent 
protest of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland, and to the oath 
which every Roman Catholic takes, than to the moth-eaten 
volumes with which he has been replenishing his mind. 
Let him beware of these studies — " the insect takes the 
colour of the leaf upon which it feeds," and I know of no 
worse colour than the black letter repertories of theology 
which have supplied his intellectual nourishment. But let 
us go beyond protests, and oaths, and declarations, and 
come to facts. The liberality of Catholics is not confined to 
mere speculation. Look at Hungary, where, for upwards 
of forty years, all distinctions between Protestant and 
Catholic have been abolished. Mr. M'Clintock has, en 
passant, inveighed against Charles X. and the Jesuits. Poor 
gentleman, he has the same fear of the Jesuits as Scrub in 
the play, who rushes out in agony of terror, and exclaims, 
" murder, robbery, the Pope and the Jesuits/' It is not 
my office to defend the intellect of Charles X. I believe 
that if the brains of Protestant and Catholic royalty were to 
be weighed, the scales would be found in a state of complete 
equipoise. I hardly think that the Guelphs would weigh 
the Capets to the beam, and if the head of his Royal High- 
ness the Duke of York were to be examined by Professor 
Spurzaim, he would, probably, find in it an equally faithful 
exemplification of his theory. On the head of the Duke of 
Cumberland, indeed, some bumps, as they are technically 
called, might be discovered, which the ghost of Selis should 
be conjured to explain. But a truce to laughter. Protest- 
ants complain of the intolerant spirit of the French law. 
In the first place the Huguenots are provided with Churches 
at the public expense. In the Rue St. Honore, in Paris, 
they have a splendid place of worship given them by the 
State, and their Clergy are not only paid as well, but much 



34 



better, than the Roman Catholic Ecclesiastics. They re- 
ceive one-third more. Let Mr. M'Clintock look to the 
French charter, and he will find that by the third article, 
* all Frenchmeu are equally admissible to all civil and mili- 
tary employments/ and by the fifth, ' each individual is al- 
lowed to profess his religion with an equal freedom, and 
obtains for his form of worship, the same protection/ But 
all these arguments, derived both from reason, and from 
fact, have no weight, as long as we consider the Pope infal- 
lible. Mr. M'Clintock informs us, that no human being is 
exempt from frailty, and refers to King David, and the in- 
teresting story of Bathsheba. He has also quoted the uxo- 
rious propensities of his son. 

Mr. M'Clintock seems well versed in the Old Testament, 
and appear well qualified to make elegant extracts of its 
more enticing incidents for the mediation of young ladies. 
They would make a neat volume, especially if adorned with 
prints ; and some fair devotee well skilled in drawing should 
be applied to, to throw her imagination into the pencil, and 
furnish illustrations. A pretty subject that of David and 
Bathsheba, to which Mr. M'Clintock has adverted. He pas- 
sed with much rapidity of transition to his Holiness, and I 
own I expected a few anecdotes of the Borgina family, to 
beguile the tedium of debate. However, he confined himself 
to the equestrian habitudes of his Holiness. I beg to ap- 
prise Mr. M'Clintock, that I for one do not consider the 
Pope infallible — nor is such an opinion entertained in our 
church. Roman Catholics indeed believe that truth resides 
in their church, as most people believe their own to be the 
best religion. Mr. M'Clintock will allow me to interpret the 
Scriptures as I think proper. St. Paul and he differ, in- 
deed r on that head, as St. Paul condemns ' private inter- 
pretation/ But I meet Mr. M'Clintock on his own ground, 
and tell him that I find texts in Scripture which, according 
to my private construction, warrant a belief in the infallibi- 
lity of the church. 1 may be wrong, but I deduce that po- 
sition from the Scriptures, and the first use I make of them 
is, to bow down my judgment to the church. I need notr 
repeat the text — ' Thou art Peter/ ' Lo, I will be with 
you to the end of time/ and so forth. I by no means insist 
on Mr. M'Clintock adopting my construction, but upon his 
own principles, he must not quarrel with the inference 
which I draw from the Bible, I have as much right to 
draw that conclusion from the Bible, as he has to believe in 
his election from eternity, which he derives from the same 
source. Why then should 1 be debarred of my civil rights 



35 



for believing that truth must reside somewhere, and for 
chusing to give it a residence in the Catholic Church, in- 
stead of the bottom of a well. At all events the arguments 
on my side are plausible enough to have imposed on many 
great and good men ; and I must be pardoned for following, 
like Mr. M'Clintock, my own vagary in religion. There is, 
in my mind, this difference between Mr. M'Clintock and my- 
self. I believe the church to be infallible, and he believes 
himself tc be so. 
Mr. M'Clintock— Not at all. 

Mr. Sheil — I shall shew Mr. M'Clintock that this conclu- 
sion is the necessary consequence of his premises. If every 
Protestant is entitled to draw his religion from the Bible, it 
follows that he must be capable so to do. If he be capable 
so to do, he must be enlightened by heaven, and if enlight- 
ened by Heaven, as God does not lead us astray, he must 
be infallible. A member of the Bible Society gives the 
Scriptures to his child, and desires him to make out his faith 
from them,—* Here, (he says,) my sweet little divine, is 
the Book of Life — do not attend to what the Priests and 
Cardinals tell you, but study the Trinity by yourself ; 
investigate the mystery of the Incarnation, and solve the 
prophetical problems of the Apocalypse— -and, my dear 
boy, if ever you are in w r ant of amusement, read the 
pleasant story of David and Bathsheba, and the other 
instructive anecdotes which you will find interspersed in 

this holy book God will preserve your imagination 

from taint, and fill with his divine grace every little the- 
ologian of thirteen. And now good bye, and go and play 
with the Gospel at ' hide and go seek/ So much for df- 
vinity in its teens. But seriously speaking, if the boy be 
not infallible, why give the Bible to the boy ? It comes to 
this— I am for corporate, and Mr. MfClintock for individual 
infallibility. I prefer the decrees of councils— -he prefers 
the rhapsodies of conventicles. I like the religion of Pas- 
cal, and Fen el on, and Bossuet, and Arnaud, while Mr. 
M'Clintock and the ladies of Dublin have a predilection for 
the new apostle of the Gentiles— Baron Munchausen Kater- 
felto Ferdinand Mendez Pinto Wolff, formerly of Mon- 
mouth-street, London, lately of the Propaganda in Rome, 
and now Chief Propagator to the Ladies' Auxiliary Bible 
Society, Dublin. Kir wan used to say, that the teachers of 
new religions were like the soldiers who tore the seamless 
garment of our Saviour to pieces. This converted Hebrew, 
after selling old clothes through Germany, comes hawking 
some shreds of new-fashioned Christianity in Dublin. The 



36 



Fellow's name and aspect reminds me of Dryden's descrip- 
tion of the fanatics- 
More haughty than the rest, the Wolffish race — 
Appear with belly gaunt and famished face- 
Never was so deformed a beast of grace. 

I commend Mr. M'Clintock to this worthy Missionary 
from Syria 5 of whose infallibility and fidelity in the com- 
memoration of his own wonders, I presumes he makes no 
question, and gives him a decided preferenc to Prince Ho- 
henioe. Good Heaven ! to what a pitch fanaticism has ar- 
rived ! An ignorant Israelite arrives in Dublin, defies all 
the Doctors of the Church of Rome, in the world, to meet 
him in intellectual combat, directs that answers should be 
enclosed from all the universe to Mr. ftogan, of York- 
street, and is forthwith encompassed with all the rank and 
beauty of Dublin. Warren, with his blacking, is nothing 
to this ; and Ingleby, " the emperor of conjurors/' who 
defied every other juggler, sinks into miserable diminution 
before this master of celestial legerdemain. But, Sir, 
enough of these topics, which are very foreign from those 
on which I had intended to address you. Mr. M'Clintock 
has broken in upon the ordinary course of our discussions, 
and has, perhaps, enlivened this meeting with some diver- 
sity of matter. I hope we shall often see him amongst us, 
and that some of his associates of the Bible Society will do 
us the favour to accompany him ; for, although we are 
greatly surpassed by them in the riches of diction, extent of 
acquirement, grace of elocution, and power of reasoning, 
yet the truth upon our side almost renders us their match. 
Having spoken thus much, I shall not enter into any of the 
subjects suggested by your resolutions, but shall content 
myself with simply stating, that for the vote of thanks you 
have given me for my professional exertions at the election, 
to the success of which you are pleased to say that I con- 
tributed, I am deeply grateful. 



MR. SHEIL'S 

SPEECH AT THE MEATH CATHOLIC MEETING, 

HELD ON THE BANKS OF THE BOYNE, 
On the 2Sth August, 1825. 

THIS MEETING WAS ATTENDED BY THE EARL OF DARNLEY, 
AND SEVERAL OTHER NOBLEMEN AND GENTLEMEN 
OF HIGH RANK. 



UPON the first day of July, in the year 16.Q0, the waters 
of the river, on whose banks you are assembled, ran reel 
with blood. Upon the banks of that river James and 
William met. The combat was long and doubtful. There 
was a moment when the Irish forces were upon the point 
of triumph. f€ Spare my English subjects \" exclaimed the 
wretched Prince, to whom the Irish language has attached 
his most appropriate designation ; and well might his 
followers cry out, " Change kings and well fight the battle 
over again If The Irish were defeated, but not overthrown. 
The bloody day of Aughrim succeeded. The bail that 
pierced St. Ruth was lodged in the breast of Ireland. Not- 
withstanding these disasters the Irish power was not annihi- 
lated, and the walls of Limerick still afforded the means of 
a permanent defence. A large body of French and Irish 
troops were assembled within its gates ; and William, who 
had been formerly driven from its walls, foresaw that, if the 
expected succours should arrive from France, the civil war 
would, at all events, be protracted, and that eventually us 
fortune might be reversed. Under these circumstances 
he instructed his Officers to conclude a peace with as much 
speed as possible. Leland, who affects to discredit the 
"Secret Proclamation/' (as it was called) by which the 
Lords Justices tendered much more favourable terms than 
were subsequently granted, admits that William had directed 
Ginkle to terminate the war upon any conditions. It appears 
by a letter, written by the nephew of Lord Tyrccnnell, that, 
at one period William was willing to secure to the Catholics 
E 



38 



one-half of the churches, one-half of the offices, civil and 
military, and compensation for the forfeited estates. It was 
obviously a matter of great importance to that sagacious 
Prince, to put an end to intestine divisions, at a time when 
England was engaged in Continental warfare. As long as 
Limerick held out it was in the power of France to create an 
alarming diversion. Terms were proposed to the Irish 
garrison. After some negociation, in which Sir Theobald 
Butler, who had been Attorney- General to James the Second, 
took a leading part, it was stipulated, that the Irish Catholics 
should be secured in the undisturbed possession of their 
property, in the exercise of their religion, and in the rights 
and privileges which they had enjoyed in the reign of 
Charles II. In the reign of that monarch Catholics sat in 
Parliament, and that right was reserved as fully and effec- 
tually as if it had been distinctly specified in the contract. 
On the 3d of October, in the year 1691, the Articles of 
Capitulation were signed. Immediately after, and before 
the gates had been thrown open, intelligence arrived that the 
sails of a foreign fleet were seen off the coast. It may 
readily be conjectured with what an intense emotion the 
news was received. Offer to yourselves an image of the 
scene which the city must have presented. An amnesty is 
proclaimed ; a few days are allowed to the Irish who pre- 
ferred exile to ignominy, to embark for France. They 
continue during that interval in possession of the fortress, 
whose bastions remained unbattered. The green flag, with 
the harp woven in gold, yet floated from the citadel. The 
Irish soldiers stood upon the battlements, and looked, for 
the last time, upon the fields of their country, upon which 
so many of their sons, and of their brothers, were lying 
dead. In the midst of that melancholy scene, in the heavy 
damp that hung upon their hearts, a rumour is suddenly 
heard, that a French fleet has been seen off the coast ; a 
courier arrives — the flag of France has been discerned. — 
Another messenger appears, and proclaims the arrival of 
twenty ships of war, under the command of Chateau-Renault, 
laden with ammunition, and with arms and men. It would 
require some portion of the powers of the eminent person 
who has been lately among us, and whose genius has found 
such admirable materials in the civil wars of his own coun- 
try, to describe the effects which that intelligence must have 
produced among those who had but the day before set their 
hands to the'articles of capitulation. Would he not make 
us thrill in the delineation of such a scene ? Would he not 
make our hearts leap within us in painting the effects of this 



39 



great but unavailing event, upon the chivalrous and gallant 
men who had not abandoned their Sovereign when he had de- 
serted himself. With what a pathetic vividness would he paint 
the simultaneous impulse with which the weapon that hung 
loosely to the ground flew into the soldier's hand, as the drum 
beat along the ramparts, and sent forth its martial and spirit- 
stirring call. How would he paint the rushing of men toge- 
ther — the earnest interrogation, the rapid utterance, the 
precipitous movement, the trembling and anxious lip, and 
vivid and flashing eye. Should we not behold the brave, 
the noble, the devoted, the self-immolating Sarsfield kindle 
with the intelligence, and starting into the warior's attitude 
again. He did. The generous and gallant Sarsfield sprung 
up from the earth, on which he had thrown himself with 
despair, when the sound of France and of succour reached 
his ears, Every generous instinct of his nature must have 
been roused within him — his soul must have been at once 
in arms — his face must have been kindled with revenge and 
glory — every nerve must have been braced — every sinew 
must have been strung — his hand must have been 
placed upon that sword which had unplumed so many a 
helm. But it was glued to the scabbard. He could but grasp 
its hilt. The recollection of the treaty must have come 
upon him, and striking that brow which was furrowed with 
the casque, he must have exclaimed — " France, thou ait 
come too late, and Ireland is lost for ever." — You must not 
chide me, my Lord, for presenting this picture — in these 
strong, and there are some who, perhaps, will deem them 
excessive colours. It is a theme to which it is impossible for 
any Catholic to revert, without emotion, and I confess, for 
my own part, that I cannot contemplate the event to which 
I have referred, without sympathising in the feelings of the 
men who were placed in a juncture so exciting, and who 
had still power to resist the temptation which the event I 
have attempted to describe must have held out to their 
hearts. They did resist it. In despite of the allurement 
which the landing of a great force had presented, the Irish 
Catholics, w T ith arms in their hands, with a strong city in 
their possession, and while William was engaged in a foreign 
war, replete with embarrassment and peril, remained faith- 
ful to their compact, and, trusting to a false and perjured 
enemy, threw the gates open and surrendered. What part 
did the conquerors act? There is not in the records of man- 
kind an example of more foul and abominable perfidy than 
the almost instantaneous violation of the Charter, to which 
Histice and honor had set their seals. Where was the first 
E 2 



40 



announcement of the detestable purpose made ? Before the 
Altar of Almighty God ! Dopping, the Bishop of Meath 
(he ought to have been Archbishop of Dublin) preaching 
before the Justices in Christ Church, the Sunday after they 
had returned from the camp, insisted that faith ought not to 
be kept with Papists. He proclaimed treachery and sacrilege 
as a part of his sacerdotal ethics, and Parliament soon cried 
"Amen ! " Before their purpose was carried into execution 
a little mockery was deemed expedient, and a medal was 
struck, to use Harris's expression, " to eternise the mercy of 
the Sovereign !" The Queen was represented, with an olive 
branch in her hand, as the symbol of peace — a harp was 
inscribed upon the reverse, with a motto which intimated 
a cessation of discord, in the words " lam placiclum reditura 
melos" and it was further specified, that in the year 1691, 
" Ireland was received to mercy/' A few weeks after some 
Catholics were deprived of their estates, and outrages were 
committed upon their homes and persons. These were the 
preliminaries to an act of more formal oppression, and in 
1703 it was deemed expedient to regalize atrocity, and to 
incorporate villainy with the law. An Act of Parliament 
was introduced, by which the very order of nature was 
inverted, and parricide was made a precept in the decaloge 
of the law. The atrocities of the first penal law (for the 
monster was mature at its birth) are described by Sir Theo- 
bald Butler with the eloquence of a man whose soul was 
wrung within him, and who drew his feelings not from the 
sources of artificial emotion, but from the deep and troubled 
fountains of the heart. After having conjured the House 
of Commons in the name of every law, human and divine, 
not to infringe a treaty which had been rendered sacred by 
the most solemn obligations by which man can be bound on 
earth, or should he be in awe of heaven — he that was not 
only the advocate of a whole people but his own, and was 
to be himself the victim of this parricidal law, proceeds to 
describe the consequences of allowing the Protestant son to 
tear his property from the Catholic father. And do you not, 
my Lord, think his face must have been suffused with tears 
of anguish, when he said, "is not this against the laws 
of God and man; against the. rule of reason and jus- 
tice, by which all men ought to be governed? Is not 
this the surest way in the world to make children be- 
come dutiful, and to bring the grey head of the father to 
the grave with grief and tears ? It would be hard form any 
man— but from a son, a child," (his face must have been 
covered with tears as he spoke) — " the fruit of my body, 



41 



whom I have nursed in my bosom, and tendered more dear- 
ly than my own life, to become my plunderer, to rob me of 
my estate, and to take away my bread, is much more griev- 
ous than from any other, and enough to make the most 
flinty of hearts to bleed to think on it — {alas, he was 
speaking to the Scots and Jenkinsons of the day.) " For 
God's sake, will you consider, whether this is according to 
the golden rule, ■ to do as you should be done unto/ and if 
not, you will not, nay, surely you cannot, without the most 
manifest injustice, take from us our birth-rights, and invest 
them in others before our faces." In such language did Sir 
Theobald Butler, who was a Catholic Lawyer of the first 
eminence, and who had himself been a party to the treaty 
of Limerick, implore the Irish House of Commons to re- 
spect the law of man and of God ! But it was in vain. — 
The Bill passed, and was succeeded by other enactments of 
the same character. Nothing was omitted that could be de- 
vised by the satanic genius of Penal Legislation, for the op- 
pression and degradation of the People. Session after Ses- 
sion new chains were forged until there was not a link left 
to which a fetter could be attached, and the very power of 
oppression had been exhausted by its accumulation. It 
were vain to attempt to describe the measureless villainy of 
that system. This execrable assemblage of atrocity, in 
which every crime appeared to have been gathered, baffled 
the genius of Edmund Burke, and defied his power of ex- 
pression. Its necessary results upon the national character 
were speedily produced. The action of servitude is reci- 
procal. The population was divided into thousands of 
tyrants and millions of slaves. The Judges of the land 
declared that a Papist could not breathe without the con- 
nivance of the Government. The common air was made 
a matter of indulgence. It was not until the year 1759, 
that the first gleam of hope began to dawn on the Roman 
Catholics of Ireland, and that the Government first ma- 
nifested some attention to the condition of the people. — 
That first faint dawn of hope rose out of the public danger. 
The Duke of Bedford (the then Lord Lieutenant) stated in 
the House of Commons, that Mr. Secretary Pitt had ap- 
prised him, that France speculated upon the discontent of 
the people of Ireland. The Catholic merchants, (for like 
another proscribed people, the Jews, the Catholics had di- 
rected their views and their energies to commerce,) took 
advantage of the intimation. They proposed to address the 
Lord Lieutenant. The Nobility and Gentry, who had ae«. 
quired habits of timiditv, opposed it. The more democra- 



42 



tic party prevailed. The French fleet was on the coast, and 
a gracious answer was returned. Mr. Mason's motion for 
allowing Catholics to lend money on mortgages, was lost by 
a majority of 188 to 151. This was the first motion made 
in our favour. In 1772, by a great stretch of mercy, Ca- 
tholics were indulged so far as to be allowed to take leases 
of bog not exceeding 50 acres. In 1774, America began to 
raauifest a sense of her injuries and of her power, and the 
Catholics were indulged so far as to be allowed to testify 
their allegiance by an oath. This was the first legal recog- 
nition of their relation as subjects to the State. The air of 
heaven ceased to be a luxury - and their right to breathe 
was acknowledged by the law. In 1778, the discontents 
of America augmented. The Volunteers of Ireland (the 
dragon's teeth) were already springing up in an iron har- 
vest. A new argument for relief was supplied, and Mr. 
Gardiner's bill passed by only a majority of nine in the 
Commons. By that bill Catholics were allowed to take 
leases for 999 years, and their property was made deviseable 
and descendible. In 1782, the resolutions of Dungannon 
were published. The last was in favour of the Roman Ca- 
tholics, and five days after, the 21st and 22d of Geo. III. 
was passed, by which Catholics were allowed to take land 
without limit, and certain penalties upon their clergy were 
removed. At length, in 1791* the French Revolution, that 
great event, which shook the moral world to the centre, 
extended its influence to Ireland, and on the 11th of Fe- 
bruary, 1 791 ^ The Catholic Committee were summoned, 
The Aristocracy were appalled by the incidents which 
crowded upon mankind. They were so long habituated to 
a dungeon of light, that they were dazzled by the full and 
perfect day, and shrunk back for a moment into the obscu- 
rity to which they were accustomed. The address of the 
sixty-four seceders was timid, but not, as it has been re- 
presented, a grovelling acquiescence in their sentence.— 
They did not dare to petition for the Elective Franchise ; 
that audacious supplication was reserved for the aspiring 
spirit of the Catholic Traders of Dublin. Their petition 
was rejected by a majority of 208 to 23. But the people 
were not dismayed — a great National Convention was sum- 
moned, and met on the 2d of December, 1792. Here was 
the great root of the Catholic Association. Successive 
branches have been lopped off; but, thank God, the trunk 
is unwithered still. What was the result ? It was pretend- 
ed that the Catholic Delegates were the greatest enemies to 
their own cause: and Mr. Hobart immediately afterwards 



43 



moved for liberty to bring in the great Statute of 1793.— 
On the very same night, he announced a war on the part of 
the French Republic against England. 

The Act of 1 793 gave us political power, by giving us 
the Elective Franchise ; it was a moiety of Emancipation. 
Lord Fitzwiiliam arrived with the residue of the nation's 
liberty in his gift ; but the evil genius of the country, in the 
shape of a Beresford, (mark it well, Freeholders of Water- 
ford!) whispered away the freedom of Ireland, and converted 
the malady of the Prince into the degradation of the people. 
In 1791 > the Bill to admit Catholics into Parliament was lost 
by a majority of 155 to 84, and, on the 7th of February, 
1797* the question was lost, for the last time in Ireland, by 
143 to 19. The country was driven into insurrection, and 
hurried from rebellion to its anticipated results. The Union 
passed. Here let me for a moment pause, and ask of any 
man who reviews the progress of the Catholic question up 
to this great epoch, whether any thing was ever won by 
pusillanimous proceedings, and whether the portion of 
liberty that was obtained by the Irish Catholics, was not 
wrung from the apprehensions of the Minister by the deter- 
mination of the people ? What produced the Treaty of 
Limerick ? — the fear of France. What produced its viola- 
tion? — the base confidence in impunity. What produced 
the series of relaxations from 1792 to 1793 ? — America, 
Reform, and France. Was any thing ever won by syco- 
phantic turpitude, and by crawling servility ? Is it from the 
past that we should learn to speak in a cc bondsman's key," 
or ask for liberty in the accents of mendicant supplication ? 
Are we to listen to the suggestions of those who teach us, 
that like dogs we should u lick our wounds, and know no 
other cure V — or is there any thing in the past that should 
discourage us for the future? In 1792 there were only 
twenty-three members of the House of Commons in our 
favour. The Catholic Convention assembled — victory was 
the vassal of France, and in 1793 a great' measure was 
carried by an immense majority. But let me proceed, for 
the time which I have already occupied admonishes me to 
be brief. In 1801 Mr. Pitt resigned upon the ground of his 
alleged incapacity to fulfil his pledge. In 1805 our question 
was first discussed in the Imperial Parliament. It was 
rejected by a majority of 212. This was appalling, and yet 
we were not disheartened. Twenty years, (and twenty 
years, though a vast space in the life of an individual, 
constitute but a brief period in the history of a nation) have 
not only melted down that majority, but have produced a 



majority of twenty- seven in our favour, and have revolu- 
tionised the public feeling. Shall we, who were not terri- 
fied by a majority of 212 in the Commons, allow ourselves 
to be beaten back by 49 in the Lords ? But mark the steps 
by which the question advanced: In 1813 there was, for 
the first time, a majority, on the first reading of the Bill, in 
our favour. At that period Bonaparte was upon his throne, 
and the Catholic Committee was in the legal exercise of its 
functions. Not long after the Bill, opening the Army 
and Navy, was passed. England was afraid her Irish Offi- 
cers would be driven, by the law, into the continental service. 
This concession furnished one argument. Strange, that in 
a free country the military offices should be thrown open, 
and the civil should be closed up ! Our own dissensions 
afterwards impeded our advancement. Had we been united, 
as we now are, and as I trust we shall long continue to be 
— -our question would, perhaps, 'ere this have been carried. 
At length Mr, Plunkett succeeded in bringing the Bill 
through the House of Commons, although by an inconside- 
rable majority, and it was rejected in the Lords by only 39* 
The Catholics were allured into inertness by a false hope. 
The King arrived, (God knows for what purpose), and we 
did not even obtrude our wishes upon the Royal ear. We 
gave our opponents reason to think that we could be recon- 
ciled to our degradation, and our petition was scouted and 
flung out of the Commons. We derived a useful instruc- 
tion from this result of moderation. The Catholic Associa- 
tion sprung up. O'Connell devised and executed a noble 
project. A system of voluntary contribution was established. 
The Catholic Rent, was collected. The proceedings of 
that great Assembly fixed the attention of the Empire. It 
was first derided, then dreaded, and afterwards oppressed. 
But where is the man who will say that it achieved little 
for Ireland? It gave proof of the power, and the vigor of 
the Catholics — and shook the mind of the English nation. 
What was the conseqence? That the prejudices against the 
measure have sunk among the dregs of the people. A 
second time it passed the Commons. It was by a great 
exertion that the opposition in the Lords was produc- 
ed, and that opposition, be it remembered, rests upon 
transitory materials. Is the Duke of York immortal? Is 
Eldon a Tithonus, or is there any fair sorceress, any Medea, 
of forty who has undertaken to impart new life, heat, and 
vigour to the Earl of Liverpool ? There is, unfortunately 
for the Church, no "elixir vita? " to accomplish this renova- 
tion ; and if we had no other principle of hope than the 



45 



calculation of an Insurance-office, we should not despair. 
I should like to see his Royal Highness making his appear- 
ance at the Atlas-office to effect a policy, at the instance of 
his pious and moral associate, the Marquis of Hertford. I 
should like to observe the eye of inquisitorial inspection with 
which the appraiser of life would survey, the bulky exhibit 
of which his Royal Highness should make proffer. But let 
him pass. The progress of the Catholic question depends 
upon the confederated energies of the Irish people. It is 
not enough that we should hold occasional meetings, and 
that strong sentiments should evaporate in steamy phrase. 
Something practically great and impressive must be accom- 
plished. The resolution which was proposed by the eldest 
Son of my Lord Gormanstown, contains a powerful recom- 
mendation. A census must be taken. Every parish must meet 
on the same day— and a great convention must be summoned. 
Let the Catholic prelates, the chief of the Catholic Clergy, 
the Nobility, the Gentry, the great Agriculturists, the 
Merchants, and the members of the liberal professions 
meet. Let the Peers and leading Catholics be invited 
to unite themselves with this National Assembly. The 
eyes of the Empire would be fixed upon its delibera- 
tions. Its sitting may be continued for fourteen successive 
days, Can any man question the expediency of such a 
measure, if it can be accomplished ; and can any man doubt 
the facility of its achievement who has seen what has been 
effected ; I, for one, do not } and since I have so far spo- 
ken of myself, let me be allowed to tell you why I have 
come this day amongst you. It is because I feel you are 
engaged in no local concern, but in a cause in which we all 
bear a participation, and in the promotion of which it is 
every man's duty to engage. — I knew that your Meeting, from 
the many persons of rank who attend it, would excite no 
ordinary attention ; and as I deemed it not improper that I 
should intermix my sentiments in your proceedings, and 
give utterance to the strenuous convictions of my mind, I 
came here to tell you, that I think you must relinquish all 
hope of achieving the freedom of Ireland, unless you adopt 
a bold, determined, and energetic system of action. I came 
here to rescue your proceedings, as far as it lies in me, from 
the cant of servility, which disguises itself under the name 
of moderation. A true and genuine moderation, I do most 
fervently recommend ; but I as devoutly deprecate that spu- 
rious moderation, which would degenerate into inertness, 
and which derives its origin from those habits of voluntary 
servitude which long continued thraldom could not fail to 



46 



create. But I thank God that the sluggish and apathetic 
state of political feeling to which I have averted, has under- 
gone a most salutary change. Thank God ! there is scarcely 
a man in the great community to which we belong, that does 
not feel that existence without liberty is scarcely worth keep- 
ing. Slavery not only takes away one half of its virtue 
from the spirit of man, but deprives life of all its value. 
Who can be such a sceptic in the power of an united and 
enthusiastic people, and in the progress of truth, of reason, 
and of justice, as to think it possible that when liberty is 
spreading its illuminations to the extremities of the world, 
this country, which Providence appears to have framed 
with " a peculiar care/' should not catch a reflection of that 
glorious light; and that while South America is starting 
into freedom, Ireland should still continue enslaved ? Will 
England withhold from the Irish Roman Catholics, that 
freedom which England has conferred upon the Peruvian 
Creole ? That this great object will be attained I entertain 
a strong assurance. In all likelihood almost every man that 
hears me will live to behold the great event which will con- 
fer peace, and wealth, and happiness upon Ireland ; but if 
it shall be otherwise — if we are destined to descend into the 
earth before that great measure shall have been accom- 
plished, it is some consolation to us to reflect, that we shall 
not entail our vassalage upon those who are to come after 
us, that if liberty shall not become vested in us, it will be 
derived through us ; and that (where is the father who does 
not feel the power of that appeal ?) the inheritors of our 
existence shall not be the heirs of our oppression, and that 
our children shall be free. 



MR. O'CONNELL'S 



SPEECH, AT THE CATHOLIC ASSOCIATION 

ON THE 

TREATY OP LIMERICK. 



I RISE to propose a draft of a Petition, containing our 
solemn protest against the continued violation of the Treaty 
of Limerick, and calling for relief because that solemn 
treaty was grossly and perfidiously violated. I have been 
at some pains to investigate this subject, and I am almost 
ashamed that I have employed so much diligence upon it. 
It is so clear, so indisputable, so manifest to the commonest 
sense, and commonest reason, that the Treaty of Limerick 
has been shamefully and dishonourably violated ! — that the 
mere declaration of the fact, the simple reference to the 
universal sense of enlightened and impartial mankind on the 
subject, would seem to be sufficient. Yet, when the mind 
is assailed by the miserable misrepresentations of a Dawson, 
and the puerile subterfuges of a Peel on the question, and 
when there are persons who will listen to them with patience, 
and be almost persuaded that they state history, and enunci- 
ate good logic — when they falsify the one and outrage the 
other, it does not seem quite a loss of time to go into the 
curious detail of their folly and dishonesty. As to Mr. 
Peel, his attempt at reasoning is so very impotent and ludi- 
crous, that the understanding cannot really condescend to 
follow him through the mazes of chicanery further than 
a very few steps of his progress. He has obtained a cha- 
racter for honesty. In my profession, when a worthy 
member can scarcely make himself intelligible to the Court, 
and can scarcely stammer his way through a page of long- 
hand, be the characters ever so large and well formed, and 
be the aid of his magnifying glass ever so ready or potent, 
he acquires a character for a knowledge of black letter, he 
is said to be a fine, sound, erudite black-letter lawyer, He 
is often said to be profound, simply because he is perplexei 1 . 



48 



It is, I imagine, on grounds such as these that Mr. Peel is 
said to be honest. He has nothing that can be called 
talents — he has nothing that bears the most distant resem- 
blance to genius— he has no grasp of mind or brilliancy of 
imagination, and from these premises it is sagaciously con- 
cluded that he is honest. One would sneer at his folly — 
one would look with derision on the pettiness of his preten- 
sions, if he was not placed in a station to give him facilities 
in upholding the system of persecution to which this unfor- 
tunate country has been subject, and to attach some degree 
of weight and credit to his shallowest sophistry, and his 
grossest misrepresentations. There was, at least, one honest 
and manly Englishman — Charles Fox. He was no spreader 
of mischievous delusions. Like Philip of Macedon, his 
frankness and straightforwardness of purpose impelled him 
to call a stone a stone, and a traitor a traitor. When he 
heard any one give as history a rank and pernicious false- 
hood — when he heard such things uttered as are to be found 
in the speeches of our Dawsons and our Peels on the viola- 
tion of the Treaty of Limerick, his customary observation 
was, u that is a good sound Protestant lie." Without using 
an epithet quite so strong, the sophistications of these 
worthies may well be pronounced disgraceful to intellect and 
moral feeling, and they proved that there are individuals 
amongst us bearing the name, and exercising the influence 
of Statesmen, who would have joined, if they had the power 
to do so, the original destroyers of Irish liberty, in more 
than they accomplished, or, perhaps, had ever meditated. 

I shall now proceed to describe the relative situation of 
England when the Treaty of Limerick was signed. I shall 
demonstrate that Ireland gave full and ample value for what 
was guaranteed to her. I shall prove that there never was 
a treaty in which so much was promised, comparing what 
was engaged to be done with what had actually been per- 
formed. Were it not for the Treaty of Limerick his 
Majesty, King George the Fourth, would not at this day be 
on the throne of England. Instead of being the Sovereign 
of the first Empire in the world, he would be a petty Elector 
or Duke in the North of Germany, or, probably, through the 
bounty of that good-natured man, Napoleon, he might be a 
King ; for we should recollect that his sister was indebted 
to the Emperor Napoleon for the title of Queen. Let us 
look to facts. On the 3d of October, 1691, the Treaty of 
Limerick was signed. It was in the third year of the war. 
Dubious success attended the operations of the invaders in 
some instances, and they sustained actual defeat in others. 



49 



If they triumphed at the Boyne, at Auglirim, and ultimately 
at Athlone, they had once been repulsed from Athlone and 
driven from Limerick. The Irish army which, in the 
beginning, was raw and unorganised, had been daily ac- 
quiring efficiency and discipline.' The invading army 
was composed of heterogeneous and discordant materials. 
There were Danes, Brunswickers, Dutch and English, 
Insubordination was arising in their ranks — they were 
openly complaining of being badly provisioned, and not 
being paid at all. They were cemented by no principle — 
their hearts were not in their cause — they were mere hire- 
lings. They were not to be depended upon — and there are 
manifest proofs they had not the confidence of their com- 
mander. Added to this, an adverse party was forming in 
England. James, was what would now be called the legi- 
timate Sovereign of the British Nation. Nine-tenths of the 
landed interest — both the Universities — and even the greater 
portion of the clergy, were in his favour. There was an 
insurrection in Ireland, and Scotland was a slumbering vol- 
cano. On the continent, William's hereditary dominions 
were threatened. The Dutch and their confederates, under 
Waldeck, wes-e overthrown by the Duke of Luxemburgh ; 
and at sea the combined English and Dutch fleets were de- 
feated by the French Admiral Tourville. Under these cir- 
cumstances was Limerick besieged. Even the oppressor of 
the confiding Irish — even the defender of breaches of nati- 
onal faith cannot help looking back with admiration at the 
devotedness of the garrison. Yet it was not the bra- 
very of the men — the deeds of heroism they performed 
— the prodigality with which they offered up their lives for 
their country — it was not the chivalry or skill of Sarsfield, 
the splendid instance of valorous partizanship displayed on 
the -memorable night on which he sallied out of the garri- 
son — a sample of heroism that would adorn the history of 
any country, but that of unfortunate Ireland — who has do 
history — this is not what was to be contemplated with the 
greatest emotion — it is the matchless conduct of the women, 
the wives, the sisters, and daughters of those patriot war- 
riors whose lot it was to fight the last battle for Ireland, 
and who were worthy of that high destiny. And here, Mr. 
Chairman, I must crave the indulgence of the meeting 
while I again read what is related of the scenes at Limerick, 
by an authority which will not be questioned — by no less 
remarkable a personage than the Rev. Dr. Storey, domestic 
chaplain to — whom do you think? To King William him- 
self. He writes as follows : — 
F 



50 



(C Wednesday, the 27th, a breach being made nigh Saint 
JohnVgate, over the black battery, that was about twelve 
yards in length and pretty flat, as it appeared to us, the 
King gave orders that the counterscarp should be attacked 
that afternoon, to which purpose a great many wool sacks 
were carried down, and good store of ammunition, with 
other things suitable for such a work. All the grenadiers 
in the army were ordered to march down into the trenches, 
which they did. Those being above five hundred, were 
commanded, each company, by their respective captains, 
and were to make the first attack, being supported by one 
battalion of the Blue Dutch on the right, then Lieutenant 
General Douglas's regiment, Brigadier Stuart's, my Lord 
Meath's, and my Lord Lisburn's ; as also, a Brandenburgh 
regiment. These were all posted towards the breach ; up- 
on the left of whom were Colonel Cutts, and the Danes. — 
Lieutenant General Douglas commanded ; and their orders 
were to possess themselves of the counterscarp, and main- 
tain it. We had also a body of horse drawn up, to succour 
the foot upon occasion. About half an hour after three, 
the signal being given by firing three pieces of cannon, the 
grenadiers being in the furthest angle of our trenches, leapt 
over, and ran towards the counterscarp, firing their pieces, 
and throwing their grenades. This gave the alarm to the 
Irish, who had their guns all ready, and discharged great 
and small shot upon us as fast as it was possible. Our men 
were not behind them in either, so that in less than two 
minutes the noise was so terrible, that one would have 
thought the very skies ready to rent in sunder. This was 
seconded with the dust, smoke, and all the terrors that the 
art of man could invent, to ruin and undo one another ; 
and to make it the more uneasy, the day itself was exces- 
sively hot to the by-standers, and much more so in all re- 
spects to those upon action. Captain Carlile, of my Lord 
Drogheda's regiment, run on with his grenadiers to the 
counterscarp, and though he received two wounds between 
that and the trenches, yet he went forward, and commanded 
his men to throw in their grenades ; but in leaping into the 
dry ditch below the counterscarp, an Irishman below shot 
him dead. Lieutenant Burton, however, encouraged the 
men, and they got upon the counterscarp, and all the rest of 
the grenadiers were as ready as they. By this time the 
Irish were throwing down their arms, and running as fast 
as they could into the town ; which, on our men perceiving, 
entered the breach pell mell with them, and above half the 
Earl of Drogheda's grenadiers, and some others, were ac- 



51 



tually in the town. The regiments that were to second the 
grenadiers went to the counterscarp, and having no orders 
to go any further, they stopt. The Irish were all running 
from the walls, and quite over the bridge, into the English 
town : but seeing but a few of our men enter, they were, 
with much ado, persuaded to rally ; and those that were in, 
seeing themselves not followed, and their ammunition being 
spent, they designed to retreat, but some were shot, some 
were taken, and the rest came out again, but very few 
without being wounded. The Irish then returned upon the 
breach again, and from the walls, and every place, so pes- 
tered us upon the counterscarp, that after three hours bul- 
lets, stones, broken bottles being thrown from the very wo- 
men who boldly stood in the breach, and were nearer our 
men than their own, our ammunition being spent, it was 
judged safest to return to our trenches. When the work 
was at the hottest, the Brandenburgh regiment (who be- 
haved themselves very well) were got upon the black bat- 
tery, where the enemy's powder happened to take fire, and 
blew up a great many of them — the men, faggots, stones, 
and what not, flying into tho air with a most terrible noise. 
Colonel Cutts was commanded, by the Duke of Wurtem- 
burgh, to march towards the spur at the south gate, and 
beat in the Irish that appeared there, which he did, though 
he lost several of his men, and was himself w r ounded ; for 
he went within half a musket shot of the gate, and all his 
men open to the enemy's shot, who lay secure within the 
spur and the walls. The Danes were not idle all this while, 
but fired upon the enemy with all imaginable fury, and had 
several killed ; but the mischief was, we had but one 
breach, and all towards the left it was impossible to get into 
the town when the gates were shut, if there had been no 
enemy to oppose us, without a great many scaling ladders, 
which we had not. From half an hour after three till after 
seven, there was one continued fire of grape and small shot, 
without any intermission ; insomuch, that the smoke that 
went from the town reached, in one continued cloud, to the 
top of a mountain at least six miles off. When our men 
drew off, some were brought up dead — (a curious mode of 
drawing off,) and some without a leg, others wanted arms, 
and some were blind with powder, especially a great many 
of the poor Brandenburghers, who looked like furies with 
the misfortune of gunpowder. One Mr. Upton, getting in 
among the Irish in town, and seeing no way to escape back, 
went in the crowd undiscovered, till he came to the gover- 

F 2 



52 



nor, and then surrendered himself. (They could not say 
perfidy was shewn to him.) There was a captain, one Bed- 
loe, who deserted the enemy the day before, and now went 
upon the breach, and fought bravely on our side, for which 
his Majesty gave him a company. The king stood nigh 
Cromwell's fort all the time, and the business being over, 
he went to his camp, being very much concerned, as indeed 
was the whole army ; for you might have seen a mixture of 
anger and sorrow in every body's countenance. The Irish 
had two small field pieces planted in the King's Island, 
which flanked their own counterscarp, and in our attack did 
us no small damage, as did also two guns more that they 
had planted within the town, opposite to the breach, and 
charged with cartridge shot. We lost at least five hundred 
upon the spot, and had a thousand wounded, as I under- 
stood by the surgeons of our hospitals, who are the proper- 
est judges. The Irish lost a great many by our cannon and 
other ways ; but it cannot be supposed that their loss should 
be equal to our's, since it is a much easier thing to defend 
walls, than it is by plain strength to force people from 
them ; and one man within has the advantage of four with- 
out." These were the description of persons with whom 
the army of William, ill paid, ill fed, disunited, and heart- 
less as they were, had to contend in Ireland, To say no- 
thing of the condition of things in England and Scotland, 
or on the continent, a French fleet was hourly expected off 
the Irish coast. That fleet had actually arrived before the 
Treaty was signed. Were its terms violated by the Irish ? 
Had they not performed their part of the contract ? Who 
will say, that if they were perfidious, (and they had it in 
ther power to be so,) William would have succeeded ill in 
establishing himself on the throne of England ? Who will 
say, that if they were faithless, he could have succeeded ? 
If he had failed, James the Second assuredly would have 
died King of England, and the present Sovereign would 
now be Elector of Hanover, or something of that sort. I 
arraign England, then, of the basest perfidy. England had 
enjoyed her " glorious revolution," as she calls it. She es- 
tablished her liberties. Any social advantages arising from 
these liberties she has possessed. All these blessings she 
owes to the honour and trust-worthiness of the Irish. I ar- 
raign her not only of perfidy but ingratitude. Having, 
Mr. Chairman, thus sketched the circumstances under 
which the Treaty was signed, I proceed to examine what 
were its conditions. There were several articles of a local 



53 

and particular nature. The following is the one which bears 
chiefly upon my argument: — " 1. The Roman Catholics of 
this Kingdom shall enjoy such privileges in the exercise of 
their religion, as are consistent with the laws of Ireland ; 
or as they did enjoy in the reign of King Charles the Second ; 
and their Majesties, as soon as their affairs will permit them 
to summon a Parliament in this kingdom, will endeavour to 
procure the said Roman Catholics such farther security in 
that particular, as may preserve them from any disturbance 
upon account of their said religion" Two things were stipu- 
lated here. It was promised to the Catholics, first of all, 
that they should continue to enjoy whatever they could have 
enjoyed consistently w r ith the existing law, and lest any- 
thing restrictive of their rights might have crept into the 
existing law, it was added, that they should possess all the 
rights, privileges, and immunities of Charles the Second's 
reign, and further, that such additional security "as may 
preserve them from any disturbance on account of their reli- 
gion/'should be procured for them. But the garrison were 
not satisfied with this. It was thought possible, that the 
perpetrators of this act of perfidy might in after time annoy 
or prejudice the Catholics, by the introduction of such 
tests or swearings as now disgrace the statute book. As 
a guard against this mischief, a form of oath was specially 
set forth in the articles. It was couched in the follow- 
ing words : — " I, A. B., do sincerely promise and swear, 
that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to their Majes- 
ties, King William and Queen Mary. So help me God/' — 
And the ninth article specially stipulates , that fC the oath 
to be adminstered to such Roman Catholics as submit to 
their Majesties' Government, shall be the oath above said, 
and no other" This is clear. — This is plain. It was intended 
to obviate all equivocation, and if it has not effected that 
purpose, there is no power in language to convey a distinct 
or definitive idea. Yet Mr. Peel pretends to have disco- 
vered, that all the immunities guar anted by the Treaty of 
Limerick are included in a power merely to pray ! What 
impudent nonsense ! How could that be granted or taken 
away ? Praying is an effort merely of the mind, which has 
as much efficacy in silence as if every word was vociferated. 
Could there be a law to limit or extend w r hat passes within 
the breast ? What shameless nonsense I — Even Dawson 
himself throws it overboard, and sneers at it. Even Daw- 
son admits that the Treaty was between honorable men and 
honorable men — between soldiers and soldiers ; and that it 
related to civil rights, and not to the Hail Marvs, or anv other 
F 3 



54 



form of prayer. It guaranteed to Catholics all the rights 
they then possessed, and all they enjoyed in a preceding 
reign. It did this in plain, simple, and intelligible lan- 
guage; and it further stipulated, that in case any doubt 
should by possibility arise, with regard to any of its provi- 
sions, all should be interpreted in favour of the Irish nation, 
and the King should interfere with his Parliament to grant 
to the Catholics "such further security as may preserve 
them from any disturbance upon account of their religion." 
Such are this Treaty and its stipulations. It was solemnly 
ratified by the signature and seal of this King. The ratifi- 
cation is enrolled in the national archives, with the great 
seal appended to it. The event was celebrated by rejoic- 
ings throughout England. It was announced in accents of 
gladness in the London Gazette. And are we to be told, that 
the English people, or the English Parliament, were not 
parties- to it. The people rejoiced — what was the conduct 
of Parliament? Did it reprimand De Ginkle for the terms 
which he granted to the Irish people ? Did it question or 
impugn any part of his proceedings ? Let its feelings to- 
wards that Commander be collected from its having confer- 
red upon him the title of Earl of Athlone shortly after he 
concluded his labours before Limerick. But did it stop at 
the mere bestowing of empty dignities ? It appears not, for 
on the 13th of October, 1693, the somewhat substantial 
reward of 26,480 green acres in the Counties of Kildare, 
Dublin, and Carlow, were conferred upon him. Shall we 
be told, after this, that the English Parliament or Peo- 
ple, were not parties to this treaty ? And if this was the 
conduct of both, in what terms are we to express our indig- 
nation at their perfidy ? They treated with soldiers having 
arms in their hands, and being the masters of an impregna- 
ble fortress. These soldiers were vindicating their allegi- 
ance to their lawful sovereign. Far be it from me to seek 
to awaken any sympathy for that unhappy Monarch, He 
deserved his fate. If he did nothing else but heap honours 
upon the atrocious JefFeries, on his return from Circuit, 
with his hands steeped in the blood of innocence — for that 
act alone he deserved to be hurled from the throne. The 
patron of a Jefferies, who, like legal monsters of other times, 
was an amateur in the occupation of sending victims to the 
gallows — who was equally destitute of feeling and of shame 
— who gibed and sported with the hapless beings whom he 
consigned to the gibbet — the patron of such a monster i3 
deserving not of pity but of execration, and to ignominy 
shall his name, with my consent, be for ever consigned. 



55 



But it was not with James, but the brave and unconquered 
Irish nation, that Britain and its ruler had entered into a 
compact. — The terms of that contract were fulfilled to the 
letter by the confiding Catholics. Before the Treaty was 
actually signed, the French fleet appeared off the coast. 
" Here," it was said, " is the succour. Drive these inva- 
ders back to Dublin. The Deed has not yet received seal 
or signature. Let none of its stipulations be fulfilled." 
n No," said the Irish Chieftains — " the bond is certainly 
not executed — but Irish honour is plighted for the perfor- 
mance of its conditions — that honour has hitherto been un- 
tarnished ; it shall remain so." Thus ended the negociation, 
as far as the Irish were concerned. They were satisfied, as 
their honour had been pledged, with the terms of the ori- 
ginal agreement. That these terms were such as we under- 
stand them to be, is proved by the brief but pathetic descrip- 
tion of them by King William's Court Historian, Bishor) 
Burnet. In his account of his own times, that worthy Pre- 
late, after making an actual boast that matters had be^n 
brought to a most auspicious issue at Limerick, concludes 
by stating, that in virtue of the Treaty, " Catholics are to 
possess the same privileges as other subjects, on condition 
of their taking merely an oath of allegiance, without the 
oath of supremacy." The terms of this solemn Treaty, 
however, were grossly and perfidiously violated. Every 
disability endured until 1793, was a violation of it. Every 
disability which we suffer at present is a violation of it. It 
is in violation of the condition of this Treaty that Catho- 
lics are excluded from the Houses of Parliament. Catho- 
lics sat in both Houses in the reign of Charles the Second. 
The rights they then enjoyed were guaranteed by the 
Treaty. They cannot now sit in Parliament, and, there- 
fore, the Treaty has been grossly and perfidiously violated ! 
This, Mr. Chairman, is my assertion on this momentous 
question. — Mr. Dawson meets it with a plump negative, and 
in this respect he evinces boldness at least, and takes the 
bull, to use a common phrase, completely by the horn. Let 
us see his own words. He quotes the first article and pro- 
ceeds. — 

" Upon the faith of this article the Catholics say that their 
exclusion from Parliament is a violation of the terms of the 
Treaty, and the denial of their right was a gross act of in- 
justice on the part of the Irish Parliament. Now, if he 
could prove, that so far from it being the Act of the Irish 
Parliament and the British Goverment, it was the Act of 
the British Parliament and the Irish Government; if lie 



56 



could prove that Roman Catholics did not sit and vote in the 
Irish House of Lords; that they did not sit and vote 
in the Irish House of Commons, he thought they should 
go a great way in rebutting the allegations of the 
Petitions/' 

Before I go farther, I may be allowed to recommend to 
the admiration of my hearers this worthy gentleman's 
distinction between " the Irish Parliament and the British 
Government/' and the " British Parliament and Irish 
Government/' It reminds me of George Faulkner's felici- 
tous erratum, in which he informed his readers, that for 
" His Grace the Ditches s of Dorset, they should read Her 
Grace the Huke of Dorset." British and Irish, or Irish and 
British, the enormity has been perpetrated between them. 
We suffer — let the British and Irish, and Irish and British, 
share the crime and the opprobrium, Mr, Dawson proceeds 
to argue upon the effects of an enactment of Elizabeth's 
reign, and it would appear from what he says, that he 
believes the Catholics were excluded from Parliament at all 
periods subsequently to that time. In James the First's 
time a Parliament of all Ireland was, for the first time, 
assembled, and the Journals accordingly commence with 
that aera. There was before a Parliament of the Pale, and 
the Esmonds and the Bellews, who were not Members of 
the Upper House, constantly took share in its proceedings. 
The Members at this period consisted of two hundred and 
thirty-four persons. It was found that too many of the 
menials of the great English Lords and the underlings of 
the Government found admission into the House, and there 
was a purification, in which thirty-four were struck off. 
Now, of the remaining two hundred, ninety-eight or one 
hundred were, according to all authentic history, Catholics. 
And it should be remembered that the Parliament, com- 
posed so much of Catholics, acted in all instances honestly 
for both King and People, Fidelity to the Country, and 
allegiance to the Sovereign, were exemplified in all their 
acts, In the House of Peers the Catholics had a decided 
majority. Nothing occurred in the reign of Charles the 
Second, at least no Act was passed, to alter this state of 
things. However, Mr. Dawson speaks of a certain Resolu- 
tion which was passed in 1642 : — 

" He would assert, that Roman Catholics did not sit and 
vote in the House of Lords and Commons, and if he could 
prove that there would be an end to the assumption of the 
Petition ; and what were the proofs? The most incontest- 
able that could be offered to a House of Commons, namely. 



57 



the Journals of their own proceedings," Nothing can be in 
aspect more fair than this. The worthy gentleman makes 
an assertion ; he says he has his u proofs." He proceeds to 
exhibit them as he ought to do, and if they be really 
" proofs/' there is no question that he has established his 
case. Now for the " proofs," In the Irish Journals he 
found the following resolution, dated June 21, 1642: — 
" The House taking into serious consideration the lament- 
able condition of the kingdom at this present time, in a 
manner w T holly wasted, and brought to desolation by the 
impious and wicked conspiracies of many of the Popish 
profession— It is ordered and ordained, that all persons who 
are now Members of this House, or who hereafter shall be 
elected a Knight, Citizen, or Burgess, shall henceforth, 
before he entereth the Parliament House, or have any voice 
there, openly accept and take the oath of supremacy." 
Dawson here omits the concluding part of the resolution, 
which pledges the House " to prepare a Bill, to be sent to 
England for approval, and afterwards to be passed this 
Sessions into a law, to the effect of this resolution." Here 
is an admission that it was necessary to pass a Bill to that 
effect. I accused Mr. Dawson of the suppressio vert — have 
I not convicted him ? But the Acts of the House of Com- 
mons, who even passed this resolution, have no authority. 
Was it fair — was it candid to quote such a resolution ? Was 
it not a paltry trick to say it was from the Journals of the 
House ? I have brought with me the Journals of the House 
of Commons, printed by order of the Irish House of Com- 
mons, and what do I find ? That the Irish Journals close 
on the 9th of November, 1641, and open again in the year 
1647. The Parliament that sat in 1642 is not recognised at 
all. It consisted of only thirty-four members, who met in 
Dublin, and who were called a junta, a rump, and arrant 
traitors. They are treated as usurpers. Oh ! God, what 
animals we have to rule us, who quote a resolution of that 
Parliament as a law of the land ! I have shown him guilty 
of both the suppressio veri and the suggest io falsi. The reso- 
lution of the Parliament of 1642 was admirable evidence, 
truly, for Mr. Dawson to cite in support of his argument. 
There was no entry on the Journals of the acts or proceed- 
ings of that Parliament. The Journals cease at 1641, and 
are again continued in 1647. The Acts of the House of 
Commons of 1642 were not recognised. It was a miserable 
paltry trick to quote a resolution of that Parliament. Even 
admitting the force of that resolution it proves nothing. If 
it had power, the House of Commons which passed it would 



58 



not have determined that an A ct of Parliament was necessary 
to carry it into effect. Could such a resolution be considered 
law ? We have seen that this Parliament consisted of only 
thirty- four members. It was a ludicrous assemblage. I 
shall read you some of their debates. It appears that a 
member of the name of Johnson, a Welshman, was accused 
before the Lord Mayor of Dublin, of stealing a door, value 
four shillings. The following examination took place on 
the subject, at the Bar of the House, — (Here Mr, O'C. read 
a portion of the examination.) Such is the Parliament 
whose resolution is relied upon by Mr. Dawson. It was the 
resolution of an assembly where fellows were pulling the 
hair of one another and sputtering Welsh, that Mr. Dawson 
rests his case, I take up the next resolutions which he has 
quoted — those of the Parliament of l66l. He says that a 
resolution was then passed, that every member of the House 
should be called upon to take the oaths of allegiance and 
supremacy, and that upon the members being called over 
they all took the oaths. I shall read to you the two resolu- 
tions passed on this occasion. On the 14th of May, l66l, 
the House came to the following resolution: — "Ordered 
upon the question, nemine contradicente, that the persons 
hereafter named, or any five or more of them, be, and are 
hereby appointed a Committee, to consider the manner and 
way how the oaths of supremacy and allegiance may be take?i, 
by all that now are, or hereafter shall be members of this 
House/' &c. &c. Then follow the names of the Committee. 
That resolution surely does not prove any thing for Mr, Daw- 
son. If all members, previous to this, had been bound to take 
the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, they would know 
where they were to be taken, and in what manner. In the pro- 
ceedings of the next day, the 15th of May, 1661, we find 
the following recorded in the Journals : — " Ordered upon 
question, that the under-named persons, or any six or more 
of them, be, and are hereby appointed a Committee, to 
attend the Right Honourable the Lords Justices, and humbly 
to pray their Lordships from this House, to issue out a 
warrant to the Right Honourable the Lord Chancellor, to 
grant a Commission under His Majesty's great seal of this 
Kingdom unto such persons, as their Lordships shall think 
fit ; whereby they, or any two or more of them, may be 
empowered to administer the oath of supremacy, which is 
established by Act of Parliament in this kingdom, 2° FMza- 
bcthce, and the oath of allegiance which is established, 3° Ja- 
cobi in England, unto all and every of the members of this 
House, that are now, or hereafter shall be, in such manner, 



59 



form, and order at large, as in the Acts they are severally 
expressed and laid down ; and that the said Committee do 
meet thereupon in this House, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon." 
That is all that was done. It does not appear that a Com- 
mission was granted by the Lords Justices. I assert that no 
such Commission ever was issued by the Lord Chancellor. 
If the resolution of the usurping Parliament of 1642 is to be 
considered law, for that Parliament, which was a Cromwel- 
lian one, passed an Act repealing all the Acts of the preced- 
ing Parliament; if this doctrine were true, the Act of 
Settlement is null and void — five millions of acres and four 
hundred livings, which were transferred, would have been 
illegally tranferred. If Dawson be right, the Act of Settle- 
ment becomes a mere nullity. Thank God for the peace 
and tranquillity of the country, Dawson is wrong, and the 
Act of Settlement remains in full force. I go now with Mr, 
Dawson to the House of Lords. The House of Lords, 
after the Restoration, sat for the first time on the 8th of 
May, T66l, and their Journal thus commences: — "The 
Lords who sat before in Parliament, either in person or by 
proxy, took their places." Now, the majority of the Lords, 
before the Restoration, were Catholics, and the title by 
which they now assembled was, their having before sat in 
person, or by proxy. On the 20th of May, l66l, we find 
the following entered on the Journals : — " The Lords of the 
House, who are of the communion of the Church of Eng- 
land, are desired to be at Christ Church on Whitsun- 
day, to receive the Holy Communion together." This 
mind, does not say, " all the Lords," but the Lords 
' who are of the communion of the Church of England/ 
I make Mr. Dawson a present of any argument which he 
can deduce from this resolution. On the 27th of June, 
1622, we find the following order entered : "Ordered,— 
That all Lords w r ho are of the profession of the Church of 
England, shall pay for every time they are absent from 
the pravers in the House, one shilling. AND EVERY 
LORD OF THE ROxMAN CATHOLIC RELIGION 
that is absent a quarter of an hour after the sitting of the 
House one shilling." There is for you, Mr. Dawson ! — 
Those Catholic Lords who did not attend the House after 
the lapse of a quarter of an hour from its sitting were to be 
fined a shilling. This exhibits the delicacy of the House 
towards the Catholic Lords, The Catholics pray for every 
one, but it is one of their principles only to pray with Ca- 
tholics. The House paid due regard to that feeling, and it 
accordingly ordered, that those Catholics who were absent 



60 



a quarter of an hour after the sitting of the House, should 
be fined a shilling. Is it necessary for us to say more in re- 
futation of Mr. Dawson? He endeavours to illustrate his 
argument by stating, that the act, to prohibit minors from 
sitting in Parliament extended to Ireland, — Grattan was, 
I believe, a minor when he entered Parliament — so was 
Mr, Fox. And it was only by the 37th of George III. cap. 
33, that minors are excluded from seats in Parliament. I 
follow him with his details to show, that he is as incorrect 
in them as in his general positions. If he be a gentleman 
of candour or manliness, I now call on him to retract his 
false, obviously false, assertions. He seems, however, to 
be tinged with an accommodating love of office. I remem- 
ber when he met me in the lobby of the House of Com- 
mons (I will not say that he shook me by the hands, for it 
seems he disputes that, and to say the truth, I would not 
dispute it with him,) and, addressing me, seiid, c Mr. 
O'Connell, you have, by your evidence, removed many 
and great prejudices from my mind/ Mr. Shiel was pre- 
sent at the conversation, and can bear me out in what I 
state. 

Mr. SHEIL— So was Mr. Blake. 

Mr. O'CONNELL— Yes, Mr. Blake, the Chief Remem- 
brancer, was present also. Why does this Mr. Dawson now 
advocate the violation of the Treaty of Limerick ? Why 
does he endeavour to continue this act of perfidy and gross 
injustice ? Why did he become a miserable missionary to 
this country, to arose the embers of hatred and animosity 
in Ireland, and still more to unfurl the Orange standard of 
intolerance against the Catholics of Ireland ? I should sit 
down without another assertion, but I shall disprove every 
thing advanced by Mr. Dawson against the validity of this 
solemn Treaty. An Act (the 9th William III. cap. 2.) was 
passed, styled an Act for confirming the Treaty of Lime- 
rick, and it left out the first and most important clause of 
that Treaty. This was the play of Llamlet ; the part of 
Hamlet left out by particular desire. Let not any one dare 
to calumniate the Catholics after this instance of Protestant 
perfidy. Mr. Dawson says, that no Catholic petitioned Par- 
liament against the violation of the Treaty of Limerick, 
till the Catholic Association thought fit to favour them with 
this new light upon history. Mr, Dawson proves by this 
assertion that he is grossly ignorant of history. Let him 
look into the history of the House of Commons, and he 
will find himself mistaken. On the 11th of October, lfig8, 
a petition was presented from Lord Mountgarret, and other 



61 



Lords and Commoners, who had been mentioned in the 
Treaty of Limerick, against a bill then pending, and claim- 
ing the privileges granted to them by the Treaty of Lime- 
rick. On the 7th of February, 1703, a petition to a simi- 
lar effect was presented. The 2d and the 7th of Anne 
w T ere opposed on the same grounds. In 1723, we find a 
petition from the Catholics of Limerick, calling for a ful- 
filment of this Treaty. In 1739, another pettiion on the 
subject of this Treaty was presented from the Catholics, 
and in 1778, a petition on the same grounds was presented 
against a bill against the foreign education of Catholics. If 
Mr. Dawson were so ignorant of things that have gone be- 
fore, what business has he to legislate for a nation like this? 
Did Mr. Dawson forget the address presented to the late 
King in 1792, by John Keogh and others? Was he so 
young as not to have read this part of history, and to have 
known that in the petition then presented, and on which 
the Parliament acted in 1793, when it granted, amongst 
other things, the Elective Franchise, a distinct complaint 
was made on the violation of the Treaty of Limerick, and 
the Parliament virtually admitted the justice of the com- 
plaint, by granting redress to a certain extent. Who were 
the men who now defended the violation of that solemn 
Treaty ? The descendants of the Enniskilliners and the 
Londonderry Regiments, whom Schomberg, in a letter to 
King William, in February, I69O, says, ff were on a foot- 
ing of license both to rob and steal. In another letter, he 
tells his Majesty, that " one must count upon the troops 
raised in Ireland (for his Majesty's service) only as so many 
cravats. That, in the day of battle, they will always throw 
themselves upon the first plunder. That Mr. Harbood, 
(Pay-master General of his army) had experience of this : 
for that having gone one night, with his fowling-piece, 
upon a party with Count Schomberg, and having fallen from 
his horse, five or six Enniskillen troopers began to strip 
and rob him, although he cried out that he was a pay- 
master, and that he would give them money to carry him 
to the camp ; but that a French officer in passing, having 
known him, the Enniskilliners brought him back." Does 
the violation of the Treaty of Limerick stand alone ? — 
There were other treaties, those of Drogheda, Carrick- 
fergus, and Cork, The Irish were allowed to march out 
of Carrickfergus, with colours and flags, and all the other 
honours of war. But the English soldiers broke the ar- 
ticles which Schomberg had signed, Thev fell upon and 
G 



62 



disarmed the town's people, and made the women run 
the gauntlet stark naked ! Oh ! that our ancestors did not 
prefer to perish in the field — to leave their bones to whiten 
the land, rather than allow base things like these to pol- 
lute the country. When Drogheda surrendered upon a 
regular capitulation, the garrison, instead of being set free, 
according to contract were detained prisoners. On the 
surrender of Cork, the Irish General McCarthy, was near 
being murdered, and the garrison were sent into a marshy 
place, and there left without food for four or five days. — 
Those who did not die there, were crowded up in jails 
and churches, where several perished. A Captain Lodan, 
who was sent with some Irish prisoners to Dublin, find- 
ing them getting faint, had nine of them shot ! The con- 
duct on the side of the Irish was widely different. Lady 
Montrath, and several other respectable persons from the 
English side, committed herself to the care of Owen 
O'Rorke, who commanded an Irish garrison, in Mayo. — 
O'Rorke* s brother was a prisoner with an English Gene- 
ral, Sir Frederick Norton, and O'Rorke sent him word 
he would exchange all his English prisoners for his bro- 
ther. Norton hanged him the next day ! O'Rorke, 
though enraged by such an infamous act, did not follow 
the example of the barbarian ; he continued to treat the 
English prisoners with kindness. Such was the conduct 
of our persecutors then — base, barbarous, and savage; 
and such would be the conduct of many of them to- 
day, if they dared. We are not protected by their huma- 
nity, but by their fears. I have closed my case on the 
Treaty of Limerick. I have shown that it was useful 
to England and absolutely necessary to the security of 
the Throne. Sir, we gave valuable considerations to Eng- 
land, and we were only promised our rights in return. — 
That promise w T as violated, and up to this day the vio- 
lation continues. When we call for its fulfilment, we are 
met by facts that never occurred and by arguments that 
no rational mind could entertain. Ireland never violated 
her Treaties. She maintained her contract with England 
faithfully, honestly, and to the letter. I appeal to the 
history of Ireland for the conduct of the Irish Catholics. — 
When in the reign of Mary, the scaffolds were dyed with 
bloody the Catholics of Ireland, though they had the 
power of retribution, did not exercise it on the Protes- 
tants who had persecuted them. The Catholics had the 
same power again under James II. and they exercised it 
with the same lenity. Let us call upon England to se- 



63 

cure the happiness of Ireland, by at length fulfilling a 
solemn Treaty, and to consign to deserved execration 
those who attempt to justify its violation, and would 
transmit it to posterity. 



MR. SHEIKS 



SPEECH AT THE CONNAUGHT PROVINCIAL 
MEETING, 

WHICH WAS ATTENDED BY 

THE DUKE DE MONTEBELLO, 



Mr. SHI EL. — I hold in my hand, a document of no 
ordinary importance. It was delivered to me by that ardent 
servant of his country and of his religion, the Roman Ca- 
tholic Bishop of Waterford, " I give you," said that lofty- 
minded Prelate, "the result of much labour, and much 
zeal. I place a document in your hands, which is signed 
by me, in my episcopal character, and for whose authenti- 
city I can vouch. Take it, and let it be used for the good 
of Ireland, and the honour of God." He entrusted to my 
care what I consider to be of the utmost consequence to the 
promotion of our cause, and I have selected this great Pro- 
vincial Assembly, as affording the most appropriate occasion 
for the statement of its contents. It is the certified census, 
under the sign manual of the Bishop, of the comparative Pro- 
testant and Catholic population of the united dioceses of Wa- 
terford and Lismore, It comprehends the returns made, in 
their official capacity, by the parish priests of thirty-seven pa- 
rishes, (returns very different from the vague computations 
of that strange calculator of men, Mr. Leslie Foster, who 
allows three Catholics and a quarter to every Protestant) ; 
and by these returns it appears, that the population of the 
united dioceses, including the city of Waterford, amounts 
to ten thousand one hundred and forty-nine Protestants, 
and two hundred and thirty-one thousand two hundred and 
eighteen Roman Catholics. Yes, I repeat it, 10,149, who 
are not Catholics, (for Presbyterians, Quakers, Methodists, 
Walkerites, Rodenites, Wolffites, and non-descripts, are in- 
cluded under this negative denomination,) and two hundred 
and thirty-one thousand eight hundred and eighteen profes- 



65 



sors of that religion, which is laden with penalties, encom- 
passed with disqualifications, and branded with dishomour 
by the law. Gracious God, under what a system do we 
live ? and how justly does the world look with admiration 
upon those venerable institutions, which raise a handful of 
men into an insolent and exasperating masterdom, and, 
throwing down a whole people to the earth, reduce us to 
that condition of debasing servitude, against which the un- 
derstanding revolts, and the heart rebels. Ten thousand 
Protestants, and two hundred and thirty-one thousand Ca- 
tholics — and this is the system which we are told to bear 
with a meek and gentle spirit — this is the condition of things, 
at which we are to smile, and simper, and lisp, and not impre- 
cate and groan — this is the condition of things against which 
we should remonstrate in melodious murmurs, and with a 
graceful attitude of supplication ! — This is the system against 
which, whoever dares to inveigh in the language that be- 
comes a man, and gives vent to the feelings that break the 
nation's heart, is denounced as a savage demagogue, and a 
truculent declaimer. — What will any man, whose mind is 
not blocked up by passion against all reason, all justice, all 
feeling, all honour, and all truth, think of such a system as 
this ? In what light must any impartial Englishman, or 
any foreigner, by whom this country may chance to be vi- 
sited, regard a Constitution which excludes the enormous 
majority of its citizens, from a participation in its privi- 
leges ? If — but I should not put it in by way of hypothesis, 
for a French nobleman of the highest rank, the Duke de 
Montebello, is present in this assembly ; he is accompanied 
by three of his countrymen, of whom two informed me, 
at the moment I was about to rise, that they are French 
Protestants, and that they consider the exclusion of the Ca- 
tholics of Ireland from the full advantage of British citizen- 
ship, a reproach to the religion of the state. They told me 
that they whole body of French Protestants sympathise 
with us, and are astonished that the professors of reformed 
Christianity should deny to Catholics that perfect freedom 
of opinion, on which their own system of belief is founded. 
They further mentioned to me, that Monsier de Jaucourt, 
and Monsieur de Portail, two members of the French Govern- 
ment, w 7 ho fill important situations in the ministry, are Pro- 
testants — and Protestants are not only legally admissible, 
but are actually admitted to influential offices in the State.— 
What, then, must be the astonishment of Frenchmen, on 
visiting this country, to find seven millions of its inhabitants 
cast beyond the pale of the constitution, on account of their 
G 3 



66 



conscientious adherance to the national faith ? The Duke 
of Montebello will return in a little time to France, and I 
have pictured to myself what he will say, when his compa- 
triots shall enquire of him what he has seen, and heard, and 
felt, amongst us, " I visited/' he will, or might at least 
say, " that most important portion of the British dominions, 
for which, in France, much interest is felt, but, as yet, 
all is not known. I arrived in a country endowed by na- 
ture with its best gifts, and covered with a population of 
vigorous, healthy, intelligent and generously minded men. 
Yet, with all these advantages, I found an utter counterac- 
tion of the apparent designs of Providence ; and where I 
expected a scene of national prosperity, I beheld a most 
miserable and degrading spectacle. The law had estab- 
lished an aristocracy different from that which exists 
in any other country, and which is not derived from 
rank, or birth, or public virtue, but consists in the profes- 
sion of a peculiar form of religion. Protestantism is raised 
into a kind of nobility, and every miserable pupil of an 
eleemosynary school — every wretched product of a charter 
house— every hard-handed mechanic — every sordid artizan, 
and every greasy corporator is raised into an artificial supe- 
riority over the great body of the people, The fiercest dis- 
sensions are thus nurtured by the law, and two factions are 
marshalled, which are halloed on by the government, and infu- 
riated into a detestation of each other. In the North, I 
found a band of men called Orangemen, with arms in their 
hands, supported by the magistracy in their acts of outrage, 
and exercising that species of domination, which the con- 
sciousness of impunity, naturally engenders in base and 
sordid minds. When I reached the Metropolis, I found a 
Lord Lieutenant surrounded with the forms, but destitute 
of all the realities of power — the slave of an underling of 
office, set over him by Mr. Peel, and forced to submit to 
every slight and insult which the prevailing faction sought 
to put upon him. His vice-regal sceptre is a reed. He 
enjoys so little of the substance of authority, that he is una- 
ble to advance any liberal man to any important situation, 
although he should superadd the motives of personal friend- 
ship to his sense of political duty. Not long ago, he used 
his influence to advance a Roman Catholic Barrister to the 
only judicial office, open to the body, and utterly failed. 
The ascendant party feel that they are still the virtual mas- 
ters, and omit no opportunity to proclaim their conscious- 
ness of superiority, and their conviction of the permanence of 
their dominion. The Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant is 



67 



their patron, and gives a sanction, by his attendance at their 
atrocious festivities, to the anti-national and insulting senti- 
ments which are announced upon these occasions. The 
person who is armed with most power in the local govern- 
ment of Ireland, makes it his business to countenance their 
ferocious orgies. At a recent dinner, which was adorned 
by his presence, a toast, reprobated by their Sovereign, was 
announced, amidst a yell of factious triumph, and hailed 
with rapturous vociferation. Thus the great mass of the 
people are not only oppressed, but insulted, and re- 
minded of their degradation in every form of offence 
which the malignant spirit of Orange tyranny can devise. 
The Roman Catholics are not permitted for an instant to 
forget their inglorious condition. They are not only stamped 
with shame, but the finger of scorn is for ever pointed at 
the brand with which they are marked." And when he 
shall have said this, and much more than this, and shall have 
gone into all the details of contumely to which every man 
of us is subject — when he shall have exhibited all the multi- 
farious varieties of degradation, and of injury, which 
result from this abominable system, will not some French- 
man exclaim, " And how do these seven millions bear with 
all this ? — are they contented with their political infa- 
my f — do they bend in meekness to the yoke ? — do they 
prostrate themselves before their masters ? — are they 
satisfied with this state of things ? — are they so utterly base 
as to hug their shame, and to be fond of their degradation ?" 
Oh, my countrymen, what answer should be given to these 
questions? Shall Frenchmen be told that our hearts are 
compounded of such base stuff? Shall it be said, by our 
illustrious friend, that we have reached such a meanness of 
spirit, and have attained such an utter corruption, and 
helotism of feeling, as to be contented with such a lot? 
Shall the son of a gallant soldier, in answering that question, 
say that Ireland is satisfied with her lot ? Shall he say that 
we are such worms, that we dare not turn upon the foot 
that treads upon us ? Will he say this ? No ! thank 
God, No ! Thanks to Almighty God, he will not say 
so ; he will speak far differently about us. He will say, 
that seven millions of oppressed and degraded men, feel all 
that burning indignation that befits the complication of 
insult and of injury which they endure ; and that they are 
animated by as resolved and enthusiastic a spirit as ever 
actuated a people in the cause of freedom. He will say that 
they are bound together by a single, an undivided, and 
inseparable sentiment ; that they are as firm and as deter- 



68 



mined as they are ardent and inflamed ; that every thought 
and feeling is fixed and concentrated in an impassioned 
aspiration for the liberty of their country. Let him say this, 
and more than this ; let him add, that if ever it shall come 
to pass that, to the financial embarrassments of England 
there should be superadded, the enormous expenditure of 
war, and if, when stripped of her commerce — with her 
machinery and manufactures at a stand — with her enormous 
debt, hanging like an avalanche upon her head — with famine 
within and danger abroad — the fleets of France and of Ame- 
rica shall unfurl their flags upon the seas, then — in that hour 
of tremendous peril, with an enormous population, w r hose 
bare physical power would be terrific if put into a simulta- 
neous and gigantic action, and would be doubly terrible if 
there were art and skill to give it direction, order, system, 

and effect — then I have made a pause, and I feel from 

the silence with which you await my words, that there is 

something of awe in your anticipation — then But 

I shall proceed no farther. This is a subject on which much 
may be said, and more ought to be thought, and I shall only 
add — may God Almighty give that wisdom to those who 
are appointed by His providence to sway the destinies of 
empires, which shall avert those dreadful events, whose bare 
possibity is sufficient to appal, and from whose likelihood 
every good man must recoil in horror ; and yet, why throw 
a veil upon futurity — why shut out from contemplation 
what may arrive hereafter, because I may be calumniously 
reproached with desiring what I do but apprehend, and of 
endeavouring to realize what it is even dreadful to imagine. 
I do, in the face of heaven, solemnly protest, that I not only 
deprecate the political calamities to which 1 have adverted, 
but I look upon them with horror. Not only my duty as a 
subject, but my feelings as a man, and those instincts of 
humanity, of which, 1 trust, that I am not destitute, teach 
me to regard any political convulsion which may take place 
in this country, with a sentiment still stronger than dismay. 
If it should unfortunately happen that such events should 
take place in the course of a few years, the men, who, like 
myself, take the most active share in public affairs, would 
be the first to perish. They would be swept away in the 
torrent of blood by which the country would be deluged. 
The first blast of the trumpet would be a signal for their death, 
and the example of Narbis, the tyrant of Sparta, would, no 
doubt, be followed, who, upon an invasion in which it was 
expected that the Helots might gain their liberty, ordered 
the leaders of them to be scourged; and then beheaded, so 



69 



that, as the historian tells us, the streets were red with their 
blood. A selfish motive, independent of every generou9 
emotion, should teach the most active of our body to look 
with awe upon those awful events, of which I have but 
traced the shadows. But is it wise, because the contempla- 
tion of an event is attended with terrible anticipations, to 
clasp our hands to our eyes, and shut it out ? Are dangers 
to be averted by being disguised ? — or does he who cries 
"breakers a-head" drive the vessel on the rock? I hear 
the roaring of the billows, and see in the distance the surf 
breaking over the reef, and shall I not exclaim, u helm a 
lee !" It is to prevent, and not to hurry destruction on, 
that I point out the peril on which we are advancing, and 
drive to ruin before the wind, 

O navis, referent in mare te novi, 
Fluctus ! oh quid agis. 

I shall, then, fearlessly state what I apprehend may be 
the consequence of withholding their rights from seven 
millions of the Irish people. It will be observed, that I am 
not speaking of events which may take place in one, two, 
three, or, perhaps, twenty years ; but any man who is not 
actuated by sentiments of the basest selfishness, will be as 
solicitous to protect his children from the evils incidental to 
national calamity, as to shelter himself against them. Shoulc! 
those claims, which are prosecuted with such an ardent 
pertinacity, be constantly rejected, it is to be apprehended 
(and such a possibility, independent of its likelihood, is 
surely to be averted) that the sense of their political duty 
may be ultimately so far weakened and impaired, that their 
state of exasperation, to use the language of Mr. Canning, 
may afford to the enemies of England an opportunity of 
assailing the empire in a very vulnerable point. The Secre- 
tary for Foreign Affairs has intimated this probability, and 
stated that the attention of the Continental Powers was fixed 
upon this country. I, therefore, do no more than amplify 
and expand the sentiment of a Prime Minister — no more 
than he considered it consistent with official delicacy to 
do. Should the anticipation of Mr. Canning come to 
pass, what sort of spectacle would this country present ? I 
do verily believe that every man, who had any sort of stake 
in the country — every respectable Roman Catholic, would 
be induced to sacrifice his wrongs and his antipathies to his 
sense of moral and religious duty, and would adhere to his 
vow of allegiance. But the great body of the people would, 



70 



I fear, be under the influence of very powerful temptation^ 
and adventurers and men of desperate fortunes and aspiring 
minds (and they are to be found in every country) might 
yield to the suggestions of a wild and criminal ambition, 
and give a loose to their passions. In my judgment, such 
an enterprise would ultimately fail, because the power 
of England, unless she sustained very great reverses, 
would prevent rebellion from being ever sanctified by its 
result. But supposing that the event w T ould be what every 
good subject and good Christian should legally and piously 
desire, still through w r hat dreadful scenes the country would 
have to pass, before that salutary consummation could be 
attained. I do not deny that many would derive, from the 
confiscation of Catholic property, some consolatory compen- 
sations for the national misfortunes. But must not every 
man of ordinary feeling and humanity, no matter to what 
party he may belong, shudder at the thought of all the 
misery, both public and domestic, with which such a state 
of things w r ould be attended. Some men there are, who are 
disposed to say, "these things may happen, but they will 
not happen in our time." This reminds me of the sordid 
selfishness of Louis the Fifteenth, who shrugged up his 
shoulders at the prospect of a revolution, and consoled him- 
self by saying, " apres moi le deluge," Let it, he said, rain 
blood, if it only falls upon my grave. The head of his son 
rolled upon his tomb. I have said these things before ; but 
why should they not be reiterated ? Why should not that 
raven cry be sounded again and again ? It is not for the 
purposes of faction — it is not as a furious and savage alarmist 
that I speak thus — it is in the hope that these impassioned 
appeals may have some effect in awakening our antagonists 
to a sense of the dangers to which we are all in common 
exposed. Protestants of Ireland, if you have no regard for 
your country — if you are dead to all public considerations— 
if the prosperity of your native land is no object of your 
care, still have mercy upon your children, and unite with us 
in our honourable efforts to arrest the progress of those 
events, of which they may be the victims. Let this disas- 
trous question be settled, and there is at once an end to all 
your apprehensions. Abolish the detestable remnants of the 
penal code — strike off the fragments of those chains that 
still hang upon us — place seven millions of the Irish people 
in their just relation to the State — make it the interest as 
well as the duty of every citizen to support the system of 
government under which he lives — fasten the great body of 
the people by links which shall be rivetted to their hearts — 



71 



give a fair influence to the talents of the able, the rank of 
the titled, the affluence of the wealthy — put us, in one word, 
in that state which ought to make us satisfied with our con. 
dition, and in which neither our feelings shall be insulted, 
our pride mortified, nor our passions inflamed ; and it 
requires but little knowledge of human nature to be con- 
vinced, that the Roman Catholics of Ireland will not yield 
to any class of His Majesty's subjects, in loyalty to their 
Sovereign, attachment to his family, and allegiance to his 
government — fidelity to the Constitution, obedience to the 
laws, and devotion to the interests of that great empire, of 
which this country forms so important, and at present so 
vulnerable a part. 



MR. SHEXL'S 



SPEECH AT THE AGGREGATE MEETING, 

HELD NOVEMBER, 1826. 



Mr. SHEIL — I, not very long ago, announced, at the 
Catholic Association, that I should make some observations 
on the grand festival of condolence, given to Colonel Verner, 
at Omagh. Having been prevented, by other occupations, 
from attending the Association, I relinquished the idea ; but 
as I perceive that the speeches have since been published in 
a pamplet, and the attention of the London Newspapers has 
been directed to the sanguinary Christianity of Mr. Robin- 
son, it may be as well to make some few comments upon 
the atrocious orgies, in which Colonels, Parsons, and Puri- 
tans, emulated each other in their maledictions of their 
country. Taken as individuals, the persons assembled on 
the occasion deserve scorn ; but they expressed the feelings 
of a party. The lucubrations of those consecrated baccha- 
nals, Messrs. Miller, Robinson, and Company, may be con- 
sidered as the catechism of a faction, and deserve to be 
saved from immediate oblivion, upon the same principle that 
a malefactor is prevented from dying of a natural death, in 
order to break him upon the wheel. Let us, then, proceed 
to the dinner. Was it not a strange notion after all ! What 
could possess the Orangemen of Armagh to bring the lugu- 
brious triumvirate of defected Candidates together ? Beaten, 
utterly and completely beaten — with the dust which they 
had been compelled to bite in their mouths, and beaten the 
more disgracefully, because beaten by the men whom they 
affected to despise — they assemble, crow, and clap their 
wings upon the very dunghill of their defeat. They sung 
u Io triumphe," as they passed under the yoke ! Mr. Robin- 
son lamented, in his Ossianic phraseology, that he of Louth 
was not there ; all that was wanting, indeed, was, that plea- 
sant and vivacious Senator, Mr. Leslie Foster, to complete 
the party ; but there was he of Monaghan, and there 
was he of Armagh, and there was he of Curraghmore. 



73 

How must they have looked when they surveyed each 
other in the midst of their melancholy festivities ; — when 
he of Armagh looked upon him of Monaghan, and he 
of Monaghan gazed on him of Curraghmore, their faces 
must, like the mirrors of melancholy, (if I may so say,) 
have multiplied the expression of despair. — The pamph- 
let (an authorised publication) called the Meeting an 
assembly of " the Protestant Gentlemen of Armagh/' — The 
Protestant Gentlemen, indeed ! There was scarcely a man 
of rank amongst them ! Mr. Ensor, in his admirable com- 
mentary, has set us right on that head. We are told, in- 
deed, that there was a great number of Clergymen of the 
Established Church of great opulence. I doubt not that ; 
— there was many a sordid hearted Parson— many a rich 
and rapacious ecclesiastic— many a fat and glossy vulture, 
gorged to the beak, and yet scenting out new carrion, and 
smelling a fresh feast in the ruin and misery of his country. 
But most of the company were a set of ferocious paupers, 
whose very means of life depend upon their politics, to 
which they may be said to owe their subsistence, for in their 
daily orison to the genius of Orangemen, they may appro- 
priately cry out, " Give us this day our daily oread." In the 
course of his speech, Sir George Hill observed, that if they 
changed their principles " misery would attend them • " and 
I do verily believe that, without meaning it, he spoke the 
truth. — The orators of the night may be subdivided into two 
great classes, the Military and the Ecclesiastical. There 
w r ere seven Parsons who made speeches, three Colonels and 
one General. It is only fair to give precedence to Lord 
George. In drinking his health, the Chairman told the Par- 
sons that Lord George was put out by an intolerant Priest- 
hood. The pamphlet states, that Lord George addressed the 
meeting with the discrimination of a scholar, and the honesty 
of a soldier. With respect to his military achievements, i 
never heard that they extended beyond the quay of Water- 
ford ; and a3 to his Lordship's talents, I certainly admit 
that the speech before me produced astonishment in my 
mind. The truth, I believe, is this, that Lord George hi- 
thereto concealed his abilities, lest they should be put into 
too active a requisition. The Africans imagine that the 
Ourang Outang has uncommon talents for eloquence, and 
can speak remarkably well, but that lest he should be com- 
pelled to work, the creature pretends to be dumb. So it is 
with Lord George, Like " the wild man of the woods," he 
remained in the forests of Curragmore, and purposely con- 
cealed his genius for elocution lest it should be put too 
H 



74 



much task. Of the rest of the military Rhetoricians, Colo* 
nels Verner and Leslie, and that personification of " John 
Barleycorn " Colonel Blacker, it is unnecessary to say any 
thing, for they are not worth mention. Upon some other 
occasion I may, perhaps, enter into some details relative to 
the last of them — the great supporter of the Constitution, 
and the Revenue laws ; but I have more important matter 
in hand. I proceed, therefore, to the " Soldiers in Christ," 
Messrs. Miller and Robinson, who may be considered in 
some sort as the representatives of the university, I may 
observe in passing, that it is not a little singular that the 
university of Dublin which once converted the appellation 
of the " Silent Sister," into an honorable designation, by 
refraining, it is said, through Dr. Magee's influence, from 
petitioning against Emancipation, should have lately mani- 
fested so angry a spirit. There were Messrs. Boyten and 
Stack, at Omagh. The latter gentleman stated among other 
things that the adored Doctor Magee. I understand that 
the pious gentleman conceives that the world is on the verge 
of dissolution, and that Doctor Magee is the prophet Enoch 
in disguise, " mounted on a white horse," after the manner 
of the Revelations. But to return to Doctor Miller — he 
was professor of history in Trinity College, and published 
his lectures in six volumes. Mr. Murray had the misfor- 
tune of putting them into type ; and not long after they 
issued from the press, I remember to have called to Albe- 
marle-street, and found Mr. Murray in a state of considera- 
ble exhilaration at the prospect of a great sale. Mr. Croker 
of the Admiralty, the great Aristarchus of Toryism, had 
assured him, I fancy, that he had made a great hit. Some 
six months after, I called again to the shop, and saw some 
twenty or thirty shelves, exclusively occupied with the 
Doctor's work. Not a copy had budged. About a year 
after I returned, and " the Philosophy of History 99 still re- 
tained its disastrous permanence. Having read the "Art of 
Ingeniously Tormenting," I ventured to throw out an obser- 
vation on the great genius and erudition of the Doctor, who 
was considered in Dublin College, to have thrown Hume 
and Gibbon into the shade, when Mr. Murray threw his 
eye over the immoveable mass of learning with an expres- 
sion of despair, and gave that sort of shrug, which none but 
authors understand, and which has descended from Tonson 
and Lintot to the eminent Bibliopolists of the present time. 
T had a recent occasion, however, to read the Doctor's 
book. The numerous assaults made by the English Jour- 
nals upon my sins against political sensibility, produced some 



75 



solicitude of mind,, and deprived me of sleep. Having 
passed whole nights in a state of agitated vigilance, I 
consulted a physician, who prescribed various medi- 
cines, 

" Poppy and madragora, 

And all the drowsy syrups of the world/' — 

But it was in vain. At length, however, he said, " I have 
exhausted all my other narcotics, but I have one specific 
left ; read " Miller's Philosophy of History," and if it does 
not set you to sleep, you are destined like the victim of Ke- 
hama to eternal vigilance/' I accordingly provided myself 
with the Doctor's work, and the effects were truly surpris- 
ing. I had not read three lines before I felt a salutary hea- 
viness about me. When I had gone through a dozen pages, 
I began to stretch and yawn in a most luxurious drowsiness, 
and at length I fell fast asleep. Before, however, I had 
completely closed my eyes, I drew a pencil along a particu- 
lar passage in the book, which it may be as well that I 
should read, in order that you may be able to compare it 
with the Doctor's oratory at Armagh. He is expatiating 
upon the miserable policy adopted towards Ireland, and 
says, u Such a system of conduct can be explained only, as 
Sir John Davies has remarked, by conceiving that those 
who held the Government of Ireland, acted on the princi- 
ple of a perpetual war, by which the English should extir- 
pate the Irish, and possess themselves of the vacant terri- 
tory. Unable, however, to execute such a plan of lawless 
avidity, they have only generated a national feud which was 
afterwards, yet more exasperated by a difference of religion, 
and in this state of extraordinary excitement became a pow- 
erful agent in the general combinations of the Empire. The 
influence of this singular policy has been well illustrated by 
Sir John Davies in comparing the case of Ireland with that 
of Wales, the original laws of which were in many particu- 
lars similar to those of the former country. Edward I. as 
soon as he had completed the reduction of that territory, 
established such a modification of its laws, as in a conside- 
rable degree assimilated them to those of England ; and 
when the insurrections of the Barons, the wars of France, 
and the contention of the rival houses, had so withdrawn 
from Wales the attention of the English Government, that 
it relapsed into its former condition. Henry VIII. perfected 
what had been begun by Edward, by receiving that coun- 
try into an incorporating union with his kingdom, and abo- 
H2 



76 



lishing at the same time all usages, which would have main- 
tained its distinction. The result of this different treatment 
of Wales was that the country was in a short time rendered 
a scene of order and civilization, whereas the feud of Ir e- 
land is still shaking our repose" This, I think, affords a 
tolerale specimen of the consistency of Doctor Miller, With 
what scorn we should survey him, when we contrast his 
mean and miserable politics at Armagh, with his published 
and recorded opinions upon the fatal misrule of this unfor- 
tunate country. Enough of him. I proceed to Mr. Rom- 
ney Robinson, the astronomer, who, in point of sacerdotal 
ferocity, it must be admitted, has left the historian far be- 
hind. Mr. Robinson is now an important person, and it 
may gratify your curiosity to hear that he was once upon a 
time a poet, and published a collection of juvenile poems 
which made him be regarded as a blossom upon Parnas- 
sus. In order that you may form a judgment of his genius, 
it may not be inappropriate to read an extract from his com- 
positions. Mr. Robinson appears to have been upon inti- 
mate terms with a certain culinary artist, commonly called 
a kitchen-maid, whose name was Dolly. In one instance 
he carried his familiarities with this vestal of the scullery to 
an extreme, which the damsel somewhat acrimoniously re- 
sented. He has thought it not inconsistent with his poeti- 
cal dignity, to record this very interesting, but not very 
uncommon incident, and begins by an invocation of 
the Furies, to whose inspirations it must be admitted 
that he was not a little indebted for his own oration 
at Armagh. — 

"My angry lyre, Magaera string, 
In notes Tartarean battle sing : 
Instead of tears for beauty's woe, 
Let rancour burn, and discord glow — 
Tho' erst my muse has mourned with Dolly, 
My strains now sing her thoughtless folly — 
Her pots and kettles, pans and plates, 
And pokers breaking brittle pates. 

Once on a time when all was quiet, 
And mute the voice of brawl and riot, 
While peace was sitting by the fire, 
Then Dolly 'gan with furious ire." 

You should be informed that the indignation of Dolly 



77 



was produced by a liberty not necessary to be men- 
tioned. Dolly starts up in a paroxysm of exaspe- 
ration, and is compared to Mount Etna in an erup- 
tion. — 

" As when in fire Typhseus roars. 
And Etna shakes Secilia's shores, 
Thus bellowed Doll." — 

This is succeeded by a passage to which, even in Mr* 
Wordsworth's Nursery of the Muses, nothing can be 
compared. 

" She threw the poker at my head, 
And deemed the blow r would strike me dead. 
The Poet now, with choler swelFd, 
Fierce dealt a blow, and Dolly yelled/' 

Mr. Robinson proceeds to describe the process to which this 
modern Thalestris was thrown upon the ground, and w T hen 
Dolly and the Poet — but res- 
pect to my auditors prevents me from proceeding far- 
ther. Suffice it to say that Apollo suddenly appears 
in the kitchen, and through his celestial intervention, 
a reconciliation between Dolly and the Poet is effected. 
I have read these passages from Mr. Robinson's poems, for 
the purpose of illustrating and justifying the claims to intel- 
lectual superiority which, in his speech at Armagh, he has 
claimed for the Irish Protestants. Mr. Robinson became a 
Fellow of Trinity College ; and when we consider the mira- 
cles in literature and science which have been accomplished 
by the Professors of that University ; when we consider the 
illumination which they have thrown upon the whole sphere 
of knowledge, and the number of valuable works with 
which their press may be said to teem, it must be confessed 
that the mere fact of Mr. Robinson having once belonged to 
that intellectual corporation, gives him a paramount title to 
our respect. In the University Mr. Robinson devoted him* 
self to the study of the stars. His familiar use of the teles- 
cope naturally led him to prefer Mr. Croker to Mr. Plunkett. 
During the memorable contest between those eminent per- 
sons, Mr. Robinson consistently voted for "him of the 
garret " This, however, was not immaterial. Mr. Robinson 
and Mr. Croker are both expert at the use of t'ie telescope; 
and while the one was engaged in watching the stars, Mr,. 
Croker was occupied in observing "the transit of Venus." 
H 3 



78 



in the lodgings of Mrs. Clarke. But let us come to his 
speech. He returned thanks on behalf of the University, 
and enumerated some of the illustrious persons who had 
been produced by that College. He said nothing of Burke 
or Grattan, (Grattan, whose picture was removed from the 
great hall of the University by an order of the Board) nor 
of Curran, nor of any other advocate of freedom, whose 
name tends, in some degree, to rescue our University from 
shame ; but he commemorated the virtues of the Calvinistic 
Usher, who laid down the doctrines of Geneva as the essen- 
tial Articles of the Irish Church, and had afterwards the 
meanness to sacrifice his opinion to his Sovereign's will. 
He had the folly to speak of Swift, who was deemed a dunce 
in our University, and who obtained his degree by special 
favour, which, Doctor Johnson informs us, means in Dublin 
College, " a want of merit." Mr. Robinson also referred to 
Molyneux. Thi s was an egregious mi stake ; for in Molyneux's 
celebrated book, which was burned by order of the House 
of Commons, principles are laid down which are far more 
applicable to the present case of Ireland, than they were to 
the times in which Molyneux poured out his argumentative 
vituperation. Molyneux insists that Irishmen and English- 
men have equal rights; and maintains the abominable 
doctrine, that tyranny should be encountered with resistance, 
and that oppression should be beaten down by force. He 
menaces the British Government with the consequences 
which may result from the indignation of the Irish people. 
If; then, England had any reason to apprehend any evil 
result from the exasperated pride of the Protestants of Ire- 
land, (who were but a handful of men) — if Molyneux were 
alive, would he not exhort the English nation to consi- 
der the consequences which may arise from the Union, 
the confederacy, the organization, and the discontent of 
seven millions of the inhabitants of this country. — Let 
Mr. Robinson then beware of referring his countrymen 
to the example or the principles of Mr. Molyneux, and 
above all, let not a fellow of Trinity College in pronouncing 
an encomium upon Molyneux, call him the friend of Locke. 
On the part of a fellow of Trinity College, I cannot readily 
conceive a more egregious mistake, than that he should have 
made the least reference to the'great philosopher whose name 
he has so incautiously introduced. The University of Ox- 
ford, the seat of the Protestant religion, on the very day on 
which the great Lord Russell perished upon the scaffold, 
issued its celebrated declaration in favour of slavery, and 
embodied the doctrine of non-resistance with the fundamental 



79 



principles of the Reformation. The University of Dublin, 
at the distance of more than a century, followed this glorious 
example ; and in order to establish a perfect consistency 
between the principles of the English and the Irish Church, 
upon no other ground, than that Locke's Essay upon Go- 
vernment justified a resistance to tyranny, excluded the work 
from the College course. And yet Mr. Robinson, with this 
fact staring him in the face, has the clumsy effrontery, and 
the aukward impertinence, to inform us, that it is to the 
University of Dublin, that we ought to look for the assertion 
and preservation of the true principles of liberty. If Mr. 
Robinson had merely committed those gross indiscretions, 
and had only offered an insult to the understanding of the 
public, he would not be deserving of any very vituperative 
comment ; but the ferocity of his opinions produces a sort 
of counterpoise to their absurdity, and he ceases to be ridi- 
culous only because his sentiments deserve to be abhorred. 
Laughter subsides in execration, and we cannot utterly 
despise what we so entirely detest. The sentiments ex- 
pressed by Mr. Robinson, are the principles of a whole fac- 
tion. He has had the atrocious frankness to avow, without 
disguise, what others have only intimated — he has made a 
public profession of opinions, of which others have only 
given a sanguinary hint. I will not say, (for it were a vul- 
gar and inferior phrase,) that he has let the cat out of the 
the bag, but he has uncaged the passions of his faction, and 
shewed the tiger crouching for its prey. In the spirit of a 
ferocious honesty, and with a blood thirsty candour, he has 
openly acknowledged, that he and his party long for a ge- 
neral massacre, and aspire at an universal extirpation of the 
Roman Catholics of Ireland. If what he said was the mere 
result of a temporary excitement ; if his sentiments were but 
the steam of drunkenness and the vapour of debauch ; if his 
foul and nauseous opinions roso out of his mind like the 
reekings of a drunkard's brow, I should allow them to dis- 
perse and pass away. They should be permitted to dissipate 
like the stench of revelry, which, after a night's debauch, 
it is sufficient to open a window to let out. But the opinions 
of Mr. Robinson were not the mere evaporations of political 
intoxication, or the bubbles of a temporary effervesence. 
They were the black and putrid discharge of a foul and 
ulcerated heart, ouzing out of a mind which should be re- 
garded as a mass of rottenness, and which infected the whole 
moral atmosphere with its rank and abominable exhalations. 
f Scelus anhelantem.' — The phrase applied by Cicero to the 
teacher of massacre in his time, becomes his sacerdotal 



80 



savageness. Openly and avowedly, without cover, subterfuge, 
or modification, he proclaims a wish that a civil war may 
take place, which, he says, may indeed cause a national 
butchery, but will terminate in the achievement of much 
substantial Protestant good. Men with grey hairs, women 
and infants without the power to cry for help, are to be 
piled up together in one vast heap of carnage, which the 
genius of Orange Ascendancy is to choose for its throne. 
He is a chemist, a philosopher, a man who sits tranquilly 
in his political laboratory, and would make experiments w ith 
blood. Calmly, nobly, deliberately and savagely, he offers 
up a wish for the massacre of a whole people, and blends 
the aspirations of Caligula with the orisons of a christian 
Priest, For he is a Priest ! He too, talks of his Parochial 
duties ! Merciful Heaven ! Is this man a teacher of the 
Gospel, and a Minister of the God of mercy, of charity, 
and of benevolence ? Is this the man who lifts up his hands 
from the Altar — who breaks the bread of life, and distri- 
butes the commemorative cup ? — Is this man a Priest of 
Christ ? Oh ! no, no — not of Christ ; not of the divine and 
merciful redeemer of mankind — not of the God whose co- 
ming was announced amidst the hymns of peace, and whose 
last words were an adjuration of forgiveness, founded upon 
the frailty of mankind — not of Christ — but of that sanguinary 
fiend who was deified in the abominable idolatry of Phoenicia 
—of Moloch, the demon who was worshipped with human 
sacrifices, and nourished with Infants' blood, would this 
sacriligous Priest be the appropriate Minister. But let jus- 
tice be done, even to him; if guilt can be diminished by its 
participation, then is he not entirely guilty. He has but 
given utterance to the detestable wish with which the hearts 
of Orangemen are pregnant. They pant, they burn, they 
sigh for another confiscation. They long for a return of the 
era of triangles, and the epoch of pitch caps. They would 
invoke the spirit of Fitz Gerald, and conjure the blood 
boultered spectre of O'Brien from the grave. They recollect, 
with a moral luxury, the screams of the riding-house — 
they remember them of the shrieks of Horish, when the 
torturer stood by, and presided over the feast of agony, in 
the extacy of his infernal enjoyments— when he gloated on 
his writhings, and refreshed himself with his groans.— But 
let them beware. I speak not of the Government, but of 
the Orangemen of Ireland. If they should undertake to 
carry their frightful speculations into execution, they may 
learn by experience that they mistake their strength. We 
are told by their orators, that without the aid of England 



81 



they could put U8 down. Let them take care how they in- 
dulge in that hazardous experiment. Let them beware of 
the sound of that trumpet which may summon seven milli- 
ons to arms. It is not now as it once was. We are no lon- 
ger divided and distracted as we were wont to be. — We are 
no longer broken into fragments. We are united, confederat- 
ed and combined, not by oaths and forms, for they are ille- 
gal and unnecessary, but by that spirit of moral organiza- 
tion which results from a sympathy in suffering, and a vast 
participation in wrong. Let them, then, beware how they 
proceed to carry their threats into performance, and remem- 
ber that a whole population, rising simultaneously to pro- 
tect itself against a national slaughter, will present a fearful 
obstacle to their projects. We will not, whatever happens, 
hold out our throats to the Orange Yeomen — we will not 
stand tamely by when the Ministers of our religion shall be 
butchered before our eyes ; when the temples of our wor- 
ship shall be committed to the flames, and when the foot of 
murder and of rape shall bestride the threshold of our 
doors ! This is what Mr. Robinson calls a " tropical hur- 
ricane," to be succeeded by a glorious calm ! It is a hurri- 
cane of which he may meanly expect to behold the devasta- 
tions from the steeple of his Church in security. Let him 
not forget, that in that whirlwind of the passions which he 
has well described, and for which he offers up his pious 
aspirations, the Church itself may be shaken to its founda- 
tions, and they who have called up the hurricane, because 
they considered themselves in safety from its effects, may be 
the first to perish under the ruins of those institutions, of 
which they affect to be the main supporters, but which they 
are the first to put in peril. Mr. Sheil concluded his speech 
by declaring, that in speaking of resistance, he referred 
merely to the Orangemen of Ireland, and not to the Eng- 
lish Government, by which he was convinced that the atro- 
cities of the Orange faction would not receive a sanction. 



MR. SHEIL'S 



SPEECH AT THE CATHOLIC ASSOCIATION, 

In giving notice of a vote of thanks 

TO THE 

ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP 

OF WATERFORD. 



MR. SHEIL said, I give notice that I shall, upon the 
first opportunity, move, that the thanks of the Association 
be given to the Right Rev. Dr. Kelly, the Roman Catholic 
Bishop of Waterford. That Prelate has commenced the 
Census. He that begins has half achieved. Dr. Kelly has 
conferred an incalculable obligation upon this country. 
Under his auspices an accurate Census of the Catholic and 
Protectant population of his diocess has been made, and the 
Priests of thirty-two parishes have engaged to make certi- 
fied returns of the comparative numbers. In a few days an 
official statement of the Census will be transmitted. In the 
interval, it may not be inapposite to communicate to you 
the returns of some of the Parishes, which I have myself 
obtained from Dr. Kelly. In the Parish of Ardmore, there 
are 7871 Catholics and 39 Non-Catholics; in the Parish of 
Susquera, there are 3015 Catholics and 20 Non-Catholics. 
In the barony of Ballynamant, there is but one Protestant. 
He had been a Catholic, but being appointed a Collector in 
the Excise, he was illuminated by a " special grace/' and 
abandoned the unprofitable errors of the Church of Rome. 
— In the Parish of Carrickbeg, there are 4853 Catholics 
and 2 i Non-Catholics. In Abbeyside, 4899 Catholics and 
33 Non- Catholics. In Killgobbenett, 3079 Catholics, and 
4 Protestants. In Ring, near Dungarvan, 2464 Catholics 
and 20 Protestants, and in Durgarven, a commercial and 
rising town, 6952 Catholics and 168 Non-Catholics. In 



83 



Trinity Without, in the City of Water ford, there are 9325 
Catholics and 396 Non-Catholics, including the boys and 
girls in Killoteran Charter School. In Killea, 5929 Catho- 
lics and 376 Non-Catholics. But if any person be surprised 
at the number of Non-Catholics in this parish, it is right to 
apprise him that the artificial harbour of Dunmore, which 
has cost Government an immense sum, and furnishes, of 
course, a means of jobbing, is situate in this parish, and of 
necessity, is a focus of Protestantism. The Catholics are, 
indeed, sent down in the diving-bell, but the Protestants, 
who work the apparatus, are all above water, The parish 
of Portlaw is upon Lord Waterford's estates, and his Lord- 
ship has made great efforts to colonise his property with the 
professors of the hereditary creed of the House of Beresford, 
Accordingly he has succeeded in gathering about him 537 
Protestants. But, notwithstanding all his exertions to eradi- 
cate Popery, that noxious weed still continues to flourish and 
spread upon his estate. There are 5567 Papists in the parish 
of Portlaw. I have, mentioned these returns without 
selection, and I do believe they afford a very accu- 
rate view of the comparative population of the whole dio- 
cese. What I have stated is of great importance,—- 
But a fact remains to be communicated to you of still greater 
moment. It has been ascertained, in the taking of the 
census of Clonmel, that there are three hundred and fifty 
soldiers stationed in that town, and that three hundred and 
ten of them are professors of our damnable, idolatrous, 
unconstitutional, and disloyal religion. This is certified by 
the Rev. Dr. Flannery. Furthermore, it has been stated to 
me by the Rev. Mr. Sheehan (than whom there is not a 
more zealous, ardent, and valuable man in the city of Water- 
ford, and who has honorably devoted himself to the indepen- 
dence of the County) that the garrison of Waterford (the 
29th) consists of five hundred men, and although it is 
accounted an English regiment, and is commanded by an 
English Baronent, out of these five hundred men there are 
only one hundred and seventy-seven who are not Catholics. 
This fact, which illustrates the condition of the British 
army — this great and most momentous fact, should be told 
with a trumpet through every country in the civilized 
world, and it shall be proclaimed. France and Spain, and 
Germany and Russia, shall hear of it. The Etoilc shall send 
it forth, and stamp shame upon the men who, with exaspe- 
rating exclusions, with vilifying disqualifications, with an- 
cient wrongs, and with new insults, repay the victories that 
have been achieved by the feats of Irish valour, and the 



84 



waste of Irish blood. Shame upon the abominable system 
that takes the heart-blood of Ireland and requites it thus! 
What will a French soldier say ? What will be said by the 
men who survived the field of Waterloo ? When they shall 
peruse what I am now speaking to you, (and they will 
peruse it) and learn that those who put their battalions to 
flight, and broke the spell of Napoleon's invincibility, are 
deemed unworthy the rights of citizens ? What will they 
say when they shall have been told, that the arms which 
drove the bayonet through their ranks, are laden with heavy 
shackles, and that while laurels are heaped upon the brows 
of the Captain of that great host, the soldiers who achieved 
that unparalleled victory are bound in chains. They will 
say that it is better to be unfortunate than ungrateful ; and 
that the field of Waterloo was as disgraceful to England as 
it was disastrous to France ; and they will say more than 
this — they will say that it is easier to imagine than it is wise 
to tell. But let that pass. I return to the census. That 
measure was proposed by me, and I am proud of it. There 
were some who doubted its feasibility. Their doubts must 
now be at an end, (I tell it these sceptics) and we shall hear no 
more of their misgivings, and their difficulties, and their 
paltry fears. The thing is not in the future, but in the 
past. It is not only resolved, but done. What will be the 
result of a census ? It will not only teach our numbers to 
the Legislature, but it will instruct ourselves. The clergy 
who can count the people can do more. They can gather 
the people and teach them to lift up their voices in one 
simultaneous call for redress. The meetings in every parish 
on the same day will be readily effected. Three thousand 
Petitions will be transmitted to the tables of the Legislature 
from the altar 3 of God ! But more than this can be accom- 
plished. They who can count heads can count acres. The 
extent and value of Church property, thte rate of Cesses, and 
the amount of Tithes, can also be easily ascertained through 
the same medium, I trust that Emancipation will render 
these investigations unnecessary, and that the Ministers will 
see the wisdom of not arraying the People against the 
Church. But if the measure be not accomplished in the 
first Session of the new Parliament, let it be given up, and 
let the axe be laid to the root. In the interval, it is well 
that we should know what potent means we possess to obtain 
justice for Ireland. If any man were to inquire of me the 
chief grounds upon which I rest my hopes of ultimate 
success, I should, without hesitation, answer, that my best 
hopes were grounded upon the lofty patriotism, the devoted 



85 



zeal, the ardent love of liberty which characterise that pure, 
that pious, that enlightened, and, let me add, that powerful 
and influential body of unbought and unpurchaseable men — 
the Roman Catholic Priesthood of Ireland. If we but apply, 
with ordinary sagacity, the great means within our power, 
all the obstacles in our way must be at last overcome ; and 
the anathemas of a Prince, the fears of a Chancellor, the 
protestations of the Premier,and even the late orgies atDerry, 
will be without avail. In referring to the city of Londonderry 
I can hardly avoid alluding to a gentleman who recently 
made a conspicuous figure among its Apprentices, in return 
for the very delicate and forbearing manner in which, after 
complaining of the scoffs and ribaldry of which he was the 
victim, and for which he had no other consolation but his 
conscience and his place, he did me the honor to introduce 
my name, I felt it to be a condescension on the part of Mr. 
Dawson to appropriate so much valuable and elaborate 
phrase to a person for whom he appears to entertain so much 
compassion as myself, and I confess that I could not help 
feeling, on perusing the oration attributed to him, that his 
pity is akin to hate. Such is the interest which he takes in 
a person whom he affects to regard as beneath his^ conside- 
ration, that he has made comments upon physical imperfec- 
tions, and expatiated upon the inharmonious intonations of 
my voice. It is not the first time that I am under obliga- 
tions of this nature, to the family of which Mi\ Dawson is a 
member, and of whose passions and antipathies he may be 
regarded as the representative. Mr. Peel, although a Minis- 
ter of State, thought it not unworthy of him to make allusions 
from his seat in Parliament to an individual of so little 
significance as myself. The sarcasms of the Secretary of 
State for the Home Department, were not, however, wholly 
unprovoked ; for I had ventured to intimate that his lan- 
guage was bald, his reasoning disingenuous, his manner 
pragmatical, affected, and overweening ; and that to his 
opinions more than to his talents, he was indebted for his 
elevation. Mr. Peel retorted ; he spoke of fustian, and I 
talked of calico. He touched on Covent-garden, and I 
referred to Manchester. He alluded to Evadne, and I 
glanced at Spinning Jennies. He thus, as Mr. Dawson has 
expressed it, became my antagonist ; and as if I were more 
than a matcli for the Minister, he has thrown himself, with 
a feeling of fraternal sympathy, into the contest. I am 
inclined to surmise, that Mr. Dawson was induced to take a 
part in the conflict, by a phrase which has, I fear, given 
offence in a quarter where certainly none was contemplated^ 
1 



86 



I spoke of the ce plebeian arrogance of Mr. Peel." The 
shaft appears to have stuck with a deadly tenacity; but, 
after all, Mr, Dawson should not take this expression in such 
bad part. It was first snggested to me by an incident in 
which the public took some interest upon Mr. Dawson's own 
account. When evidence was given in the House of Com- 
mons relative to a couple of Ex-officio informations, filed 
during Mr. Saurin's administration, and suprise was expressed 
that no intimation had been given of it to Mr. Plunkett, Mr. 
Peel, with more strenuousness than was called for, protested 
that he knew nothing whatever of a gentleman who is very 
nearly allied to Mr. Dawson, and whose name was intro- 
duced upon the occasion. I must confess that it struck me 
that this disclaimer of Mr, Dawson had a relish of that 
fungus kind of pride which marks a man of low origin, who 
is transferred, not by his own merit, but the accident of 
fortune, to a higher station ; and I ventured to express that 
feeling by the phrase which has left more deep and extensive 
impressions than it warranted behind. By interfering in 
other people's concerns, and thus voluntarily taking up the 
cause of Mr. Dawson, I have incurred his displeasure to 
such a degree, that, not satisfied with assailing the defects 
of my understanding, he has converted my tones into grave 
accusation, and brought an impeachment against my voice. 
I am free to acknowledge, that I cannot retort the charge. 
Of his voice in public assemblies, I can form no judgment I 
have, indeed, been occasionally present at his effusions in 
the House of Commons, but could never hear him. When- 
ever he spoke, the House was seized with an universal fit of 
coughing. His eloquence is down to Zero, and is so chilly 
and frozen, that his auditors immediately catch cold. The 
House of Commons is a far more disorderly assembly than 
the convivial convocations of the Apprentices of Derry, and 
amidst the cries of order from the Speaker, and the inter- 
mingled sneezing, coughing, scraping, laughing, and 
expectorating of the House, it was impossible to collect 
a whole sentence of what he said. The only persons 
who seemed disposed to listen to him, were Mr. Peel, 
Sir Thomas Lethbridge, and Mr. Butter worth. When 
he mentioned the name of Mr. Hamilton Rowan, and 
introduced the grey-headed father of one of the best officers 
in the navy into the debate, the face of Mr, Peel divested 
itself of u the conscious simper and the jealous leer," and with 
a savage exultation, he called upon the House to hearken to 
his kinsman's contumelies upon an old and venerable man. 
When Mr. Dawson ended a sentence with " Church and 



87 



State/' Sir Thomas Lethbridge awoke, and stretching his 
arms, yawned out " Hear/' and I conclude that one of his 
periods must have terminated with an imprecation against his 
country and its religion, for Mr. Butter worth lifted up his 
hands and eyes to Heaven, and ejaculated u Amen." I wish 
it to be understood that I do not pretend, for the reasons I 
have suggested, to give any minute description of Mr. 
Dawson's speeches in Parliament, at the same time I may 
venture to assert, that he did not in the House of Commons 
invoke the shades of those who fell at Numantia or London- 
derry. The mention of Numantia recalls to me another ob- 
servation of Mr. Dawson. He has sneered at a reference 
made by me to Livy, and laughed at an alleged deviation 
on my part from the rules of Prosody. I did not use a 
single Latin word before the Committee. I did, indeed, 
refer to a passage in Livy, in answer to a question put to me 
by Mr. Peel, and in comparing the contests between the 
Patricians and Plebeians, to the struggles between the 
Catholics and protestants, I pronounced the word " Plebe- 
ian," in a way which, I believe, grated upon the ear of Mr. 
Peel, and which he considered peculiarly discordant. I 
spoke it with more emphasis than sound discretion. Here- 
after, however, in using the word, whether in the presence 
of Mr. Peel, or in reference to that Gentleman, I shall endea- 
vour to give it utterance with a less jarring intonation. So 
much for Mr. Dawson's charge with respect to Prosocty. 
It is not a little ludicrous that the Gentleman who brought 
this serious accusation againstme, respecting an allusion to an 
ancient writer, did himself refer to that very writer for a de- 
scription which is not to be found in his works. The books 
of Livy, in which the Numantian war is detailed, are lost. 
The next time Mr. Dawson undertakes to astonish the 
Apprentices of Derry with his erudition, it will be judicious 
upon his part to quote from those books only, which have 
been preserved. Not satisfied with the non-existant autho- 
rity of Livy, he also appeals to what he calls the " plaintive 
lay of Horace/' in his (Mr. Dawson's) lamentations upon 
Numantia. The Morning Chronicle has justly remarked that 
the name of Numantia occurs in a single line of Horace only, 
and it is introduced without any mournful sentiment. I 
believe he is the first person who ever discovered that plain- 
tiveness was characteristic of Horace. There is, in sooth, 
much matter of a fantastic nature in Mr. Dawson's oration. 
He complains of ribaldry, while he " spits himself abroad." 
He mounts the chair of a professor, w T hile he manifests the 
most deplorable ignorance, and charges his opponent with a 
I 2 



88 



violation of good taste,, while in his speech, from which 
Scriblerus might draw new hints for the Art of Sinking, he 
throws himself from the ruins of Numantia into the filthiest 
dyke of Londonderry. That a man so low in Parliament 
should have given such a loose to his oratory, amidst the 
huzzas of ferocious rabble, excites ridicule and contempt, 
But there is graver matter of accusation. After having stat- 
ed to Mr. O'Connell that his evidence had removed many 
prejudices from his mind, he seeks in that new evidence a 
ground of hostility to his country ; and he presumes, in the 
same breath, to fling a miserable sneer at Mr. Brownlow. 
If he had not the virtue to follow his example, let him, at 
least, abstain from his vilification. He charges me with a 
mis-statement of fact. Did he not state that Hamilton 
Rowan had been attainted of treason ? Was that true ? 
And what are we to think of him and of Mr. Peel, when 
they dragged an aged man by the grey hairs into the debate, 
and in the absence of his gallant son, cast opprobrium upon 
his father, and struck a brand upon his name ? The con- 
duct of Mr. Peel and Mr. Dawson excited the disgust of all 
parties in the House. The good feeling of their own fac- 
tion got the better of their political animosities, and they 
could not refrain from applauding Mr. Brougham when he 
stood forward as the champion of old age, and trampling 
upon the Minister, made him bite the dust. Mr, Dawson 
is sufficiently injudicious to refer again to the shipwreck at 
Tramore, in relation to which Mr. Peel performed so paltry 
a part. A ship laden with soldiers was upon the rocks—an 
humble man plunged into the sea, and dragged eleven of 
his fellow-creatures from the waves. Mr. M'Dougal applied 
at the Castle for a reward ; and the underling of Mr. Peel 
asked if he was a Protestant. Mr. Dawson boasts that the 
question was not asked by Mr. Peel, What matter is it 
since it was asked by the minion of his anti-chamber, who 
reflected his mind, and understood his wink ? If the agent 
put the question without authority, it affords proof that he 
was an habitual interrogatory in his master's office. Mr. 
Dawson seems to think that my cross-examination afforded 
a complete vindication of Mr. Peel. If so, why did Mr. 
Peel procure himself to be examined touching that very mat- 
ter, and convert himself from an inquisitor into a witness, 
in order that he might give evidence on his own behalf. It 
appears by Mr. Peel's own testimony, that the religion of 
Kirwan had been made matter of comment by a Quaker, 
and Mr. Peel has himself established a further and a most 
important charge against himself^ when he admits thai Kir- 



89 



wan received no more than the wretched sum of £30. When 
I stated in the Committee, that the Government, at the head 
of which Mr. Peel was placed, had given this despicable 
remuneration, and that Mr. Peel had full cognizance of the 
fact, the members were astonished. They could hardly 
believe, though it is beyond dispute, that Mr. Peel could 
have appraised heroism at such a price. Let Mr. Peel argue 
the matter as he will, his web of sophistry will be without 
avail. He cannot get over the plain and most discreditable 
fact, that he paid for the lives of eleven soldiers at a less 
rate than £3 a head. It is idle for him to allege, that a 
certain quantity of the public money was allocated to the 
occasion, and that Kirwan got his share. Had he possessed 
one touch of generous sentiment, he would have thrown 
open his coffers, and flung a handful of his inglorious gold 
to the man whose courageous humanity was beyond all 
praise. Kirwan is to this day unremunerated ; and if I may 
venture to speak of myself, I may with justice say, that I 
have done more for him than Mr. Peel. I repeat it, Mr. 
Peel is not a high-minded, nor is he a fair-minded man. 
Contrast his former declarations with his present conduct. 
He stated in the House of Commons, that it was his anxious 
desire that the Catholic Question should be decided by the 
unbiased will of the Legislature, and that, so far from endea- 
vouring to excite, he would do all in his power to subdue 
the popular passions. How has he fulfilled this undertak- 
ing ? He dispatches his brother-in-law, his mere utensil, 
the creature of his smile, his political dependant, to this 
unfortunate country, in order that he may inflame the fero«* 
cious passions of an Orange mob. My friend, Mr. Conway, 
has placed his conduct in so strong a light, that it is enough 
for me to refer to his admirable observations upon those bar- 
barous festivities. I scarcely blame Mr. Dawson ; he is but 
the emissary, the apostle of Mr. Peel, and is dispatched by 
him for the purpose of exciting discord in the country, at 
the hazard of producing a re-enactment of those scenes in 
which the North of Ireland has been drenched with blood. 
It is thus that His Majesty's injunctions are obeyed by his 
Ministers, and that the precept of peace, of charity, and of 
love, is exemplified by Mr. Peel. 



I 3 



MR. SHEIL'S 



SPEECH IN MOVING A VOTE OF THANKS 

TO THE 

ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF WATERFORD. 



Mr. SHEIL said — I rise to move a vote of thanks to Dr. 
Kelly, the Catholic Bishop of Waterford, His praise may 
be expressed with as much brevity as force ; he has com- 
menced the census of the Irish people — he has thus held out 
a noble example of the most useful kind of public virtue — 
he is an essentially practical man. There is an efficiency 
and an operativeness in his patriotism, which is peculiarly 
deserving of panegyric. The learned, pious, and energetic 
prelate did not allow himself to be swayed by any petty 
fears, or miserable solicitudes. He did not ask whether the 
counting of his flock was consistent with the rules of cold 
prudence and nice calculation. He did not stop to inquire 
how far the fastidious pleasure of the Government should be 
consulted upon this momentous measure. He did not hold 
out a wavering balance and allow a noble opportunity to 
escape in its adjustment. The only question which Doctor 
Kelly asked, was put to his ownheart — he simply asked, " Will 
it serve my country ?" — and you have the answer in the 
result. But it was to be expected that this great undertak- 
ing should commence with a Bishop of Waterford • and 
when we recollect that Hussey and Power were the prede- 
cessors of the enlightened and intrepid man to whom their 
crozier has been so appropriately transmitted, it will not be 
matter of surprise that he has acted a lofty and a patriotic 
part. They were his models, and he has improved upon 
them. Dr. Hussey, the first of those remarkable men, was 
conspicuous at a period when great talents and great deter- 
mination of character were required. He was the friend of 
Edmund Burke, who addressed to him one of the most 
admirable of his letters. The phrenetical fear of Jacobinism, 



91 



which amounted to disease, in the mind of Burke, did not 
extinguish all love of liberty in the heart of that celebrated 
person ; and, whatever might have been his distaste for the 
absract rights of man, he looked with horror upon the 
oppressors of that land, in place of which he had adopted 
what he calls his better and more comprehensive, but which 
I verily believe, could not have been his clearer country. It 
w 7 as on the eve of the troubles of Ireland that he wrote the 
letter to Doctor Hussey, in which his anxiety for Emanci- 
pation is so emphatically and so unaffectedly expressed, and 
it was about the same period that Doctor Hussey addressed 
his celebrated pastoral admonition to his flock, which con- 
tains so much wise injunction and so much intrepid truth, 
Cumberland has given in his memoirs a sketch of the cha- 
racter of Doctor Hussey, with whom he was well acquainted 
at the Court of Spain. He represents him as an able 
but ambitious person. The conduct of Doctor Hussey, 
when raised to the See of Waterford, justifies the enco- 
mium upon his talents, while it refutes the satire upon 
his morals — There was nothing servile, timorous, or com- 
promising in his demeanour. He stood forward in the worst 
of times, with a stern and fearless aspect, and although he 
felt that every head on which the mitre was placed, might 
be laid down upon the block of martyrdom, bated nothing 
of the loftiness of piety, and the attitude of courageous 
magnanimity which became a Christian pontiff. He 
addressed himself to the Pro-Consul of Ireland, with the 
boldness of an Apostle, and claimed the franchises of a 
citizen. He it was who did not fear to proclaim that great 
truth, which it required more courage than inspiration to 
announce. He was the first to trace the progress of that 
mighty spirit, the rapid and headlong course of which he 
daringly pointed out. Well did he anticipate all the 
events which followed, and it may be added, that he pro- 
phesied the scenes which are passing before us, when he 
exclaimed — 

" The rock is loosened from the mountain's brow." 

Has not the rock been loosened, and is it not from the 
brow of the mountain ? Have not the people become ac- 
quainted with their rights ? Have not great passions and 
great desires been put into motion ? Has not the rock been 
loosened from the mountain's brow ? and is it not rolling 
and bounding with accelerated velocity, and sweeping every 
impediment before it ? Where will it rest in its course, and 



92 



in what gulf will it lie at last ? This is an intorragatory to 
which no man of our time will live perhaps to give a reply. 
Our children, and the children of our oppressors, will read 
it in the history of this unfortunate land, and God grant that 
its pages may not be written in blood. The intrepid Eccle- 
siastic of whom I have been speaking was succeeded by a 
man of a gentler mood of mind, but not a less elevated and 
patriotic spirit. As you enter that magnificent house of 
worship which the Roman Catholics of Waterford have 
raised to the honor of God, you behold a plain marble slab, 
on which a beautiful inscription has been graven — the 
epitaph is not remarkable for any peculiar felicity of monu- 
mental expression — it is not conspicuous for any funeral 
epigram ; but it contains a simple and most eloquent fact to 
the bare statement of which all its panegyric is confined, 
for it intimates, that, " the marble was raised to commemorate 
the Christian virtue of Doctor Power, by the Catholic, the 
Protestant, and the Presbyterian inhabitants of his Diocess." 
The day on which the remains of that truly good and bene- 
volent man were laid in the earth, was a remarkable one — 
there was not a single Protestant of respectablilty who did 
not join the procession which followed his relics to the grave. 
That amiable and excellent person, whose life was an illustra- 
tion of his precepts, was succeeded by a Gentleman, of 
whom it is unnecessary to say more, than that he was cha« 
racterised by a spirit of political complaisance which arose 
from the imbecility of his intellect, more than from any vices 
of his heart. Upon his death it was found necessary to fill 
the See which he had left vacant with a man of a very opposite 
cast of mind. The Clergy of Waterford looked round for 
an Ecclesiastic who was fitted to the time. They wanted a 
man of high talents and acquirements, of a firm, decided, 
and manly character, with a bold and inflexible spirit and 
something of a republican simplicity of mind. And where 
did they seek him ? These lovers of despotism by religion, 
these necessary slaves, these men who are deemed insensi- 
ble to the love of liberty, and incapable of its enjoyment, 
these Popish Priests — looked out into the democracy of 
America, and selected for their Prelate, a Bishop of the 
United States. It was among the forests that mark the boun- 
daries of the United States, it was in the midst of the Savannas 
—in the midst of poverty, and of privation, and surrounded 
with every hardship, that Doctor Kelly had evinced the 
qualifications of a truly Christian Pastor. He had not, when 
far away from his country, lost his affection for the land that 
gave him birth, and his anxiety to do that service to Ireland, 



93 



which he has proved that it is in the power of every Bishop 
to confer, induced him to accept the honorable tender 
which was made to him by the Clergy of his native diocess. 
He came, and what more need I do than appeal for the 
results of his coming to the simple fact upon which I rest the 
Resolution in which the gratitude of the Irish People is ex- 
pressed ? It did befit a man who lived in a free country, 
in a land of manly spirits and fearless minds, to put into 
accomplishment a measure which belongs to the spirit of 
genuine citizenship, and which enumerates the People for 
the purpose of giving assertion and extension to their rights. 
To such a man great praise is due, and, believe me, he will 
not stop here. He will teach the power and efficiency 
of a simultaneous but pacific assemblage of seven millions of 
People, and I may conjecture what he will do, by what he 
has already achieved ; he will not be slow in adopting that 
fine suggestion, that the cry for liberty should be mingled 
with the voice of prayer, and that from the altars of God, an 
invocation should be offered, to touch our rulers with the 
spirit of justice, to illuminate their minds, and awaken in 
them a sense of the perils of the empire. And let it not be 
said that it is unmeet to do so. If we call for the rain from 
heaven, or ask for the shining of the sun ; if for grass and 
corn we are permitted to submit our orisons, who will say 
that for the great harvest of long and golden prosperity, for 
the maturing of those events of which the seeds have been 
already deeply sown — who will say that for these great ob- 
jects, it is unfit that we should offer up our prayers ? But 
let me not deviate into matter which affords too wide a field 
for present expatiation. The office of gratitude is more plea- 
surable than the indulgence of even the most sanguine 
expectation of future good ; and I shall therefore conclude 
by moving the following resolution : — " That the Right 
Rev. Doctor Kelly, the Catholic Bishop of Waterford, by 
commencing the Catholic Census in his diocess, has con- 
ferred a great obligation upon his country, and deserves 
its thank s." 



MR. SHEIL'S 



SPEECH ON MR. O'CONNELL'S MOTION, 

THAT A PRAYER BE OFFERED UP 

IN EVERY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHAPEL 



FOR EMANCIPATON. 



Mr. SHEIL said — I am of opinion that a prayer for 
liberty should be incorporated with the liturgy of the Catho- 
lic Church. It is idle to insist that such a measure should 
originate with the Bishops. I have no doubt that we shall 
have their individual assent to the proposition, although they 
may not deem it judicious to recommend it in their corporate 
capacity. It is enough that they should permit the utterance 
of the prayer, without enjoining its adoption. The spirit 
which actuates the great body of the Clergy will induce them 
to act in conformity with our suggestion ; and there is not 
a Prelate in the land who would so far deviate from the 
course which has been hitherto pursued by the head of our 
Church, as to issue an injunction against the use of so just, 
so reasonable, and so consistent an orison. Let us not at 
least anticipate any episcopal veto upon this great expedient. 
The Roman Catholic Hierarchy are united with us in poli- 
tical sentiment. There is uot one among them who does 
not personally applaud our conduct, although they do not 
deem it accordant with their spiritual character to take a 
visible and outward participation in our proceedings. The 
fact, that they have selected the period of our sittings for 
their own Session, affords proof of their desire that the two 
great assemblies which represent the wishes of the Irish Peo- 
ple — should be convened and act together. They are virtually 
in correspondence with the Association ; and have trans- 
mitted to us in an almost official shape the Resolutions passed 
by their Body. I therefore dismiss the argument pressed on 
the other side, that we are interfering with their legitimate j 
province. But it is said that political matter should not be ; 



95 



blended with religious practices, and that Che call for free- 
dom is not an object of prayer, I hold the Catholic Litany 
in my hand. It was given me by a Catholic Priest on en- 
tering this room — let us examine the contents of the Litany 
as it stands, and determine how far the addition of the pro- 
posed prayer is in conformity with the character of the es- 
tablished supplication. — I find in the first place aprayer for the 
preservation " of the fruits of the earth." Our physical wants 
have thus become the objects of our spiritual aspirations. 
But I may be called on to show, that political matter is 
already introduced into the Litany. I accept the challenge ; 
" vouchsafe to give peace and true concord to Christian 
Kings and Princes/' In other words, " preserve the Holy 
Alliance." But I should not upon such an occasion indulge 
in the spirit of sarcastic jest. What follows is much better ; 
C( vouchsafe to grant peace and unity to all Christian People." 
This is truly a noble and exalted desire ; and its use amongst 
us evinces how little we are swayed by views of a narrow 
and sectarian character. We do not pray for peace and unity 
among all Catholic People. We do not limit our wishes to 
the benefit of those who coincide with us in our religious 
tenets : we implore the Almighty to grant peace and 
unity, (those paramount and surpassing blessings) to all the 
nations by whom a belief in the Divine Redeemer of mankind 
is professed. But, Mr. Chairman, I am arguing this ques- 
tion with too much minuteness and formality, and treating 
it as if it really stood in need of an inductive series of rea- 
soning, when the propriety and the consistency of such a 
prayer, are matters so obvious, that argument seems to be 
wasted upon them. I shall take a bolder ground, and one 
more fitted to the time, and becoming the closing hours of 
the political existence of this body. I care not whether 
there be a prayer in the Litany for concord or unity — I care 
not whether there be in the appendix to the Liturgy, a 
prayer against earthquakes, tempests, famine and pestilence. 
But abandoning all reliance upon authority, and putting 
form and precedent aside, I ask of this great assembly, 
whether it be an offence against religion to call upon the 
Almighty to save us or our children from the horrors of a 
political convulsion, to which the system pursued in its re- 
gard is precipitating this unfortunate country ? I have spoken 
boldly and abruptly. It is not matter for hints and inuendos. 
I speak without fear, because I cannot justly incur re- 
proach ; and I am myself as much disposed, as any one of 
those who are inclined to attribute to me motives as pre- 
posterous as they are wicked, to deprecate the frightful 



96 



calamities, which, if a change of policy be not adopted, 
will fall at last upon this country. Let it be understood. 
I am not alluding to events that will happen in our 
time. It is not likely that they who " sow the storm " will 
<( reap the whirlwind." I, and every man that hears me, 
and most of the enemies of our political rights, will, 
probably, be lying in the grave before the arrival of the 
dreadful results upon which I protest to God that I look 
with unaffected dismay. The case stands simply thus : — 
There are seven millions, or at all events, nearly that num- 
ber of Roman Catholics in Ireland. Their wealth, their 
intelligence, their public spirit, their union, their commu- 
nity of purpose, and their unalterable determination to 
prosecute their political rights are every day on the increase. 
Acts of Parliament are as bonds of flax. Every effort which 
has been made to extinguish the desire for freedom with its 
hope has been utterly without effect. The denunciations of 
the Heir to the Throne have only tended to add indignation 
to resolve. The number of public meetings has of late 
exceeded all prior example of popular assemblies in Ireland 
— and the rank, the talent, and the energy, and the intrepid 
spirit manifested in these vast convocations, afford the most 
convincing indications of the rapid and formidable advance- 
ment of the national mind. I doubt not that this progression 
may go on pacifically for ten, fifteen, or, perhaps, for twenty 
or more years : but is there a man who knows any tiling of 
human nature, who can, for a moment, indulge in the idle 
hope, that a crisis will not at last arrive, and that this mon- 
strous and most anomalous state of things will not generate 
some frightful results ? Can things stand as they are ? No! 
It is impossible. It is out of all calculation of contingency. 
There is hardly a man here that does not remember the 
horrors of 1798. The scenes of blood which were enacted 
in that brief period, would, in all likelihood, be greatly 
exceeded and atrocity in a future and better organized 
convulsion : but yet they were sufficiently frightful to make 
any man look forward with horror to their recurrence 
Is it unmeet that we should implore Providence to enlighten 
the minds of our rulers, and instruct them in the wisdom of 
mercy, and the policy of toleration, which will effectually 
prevent the disasters of which I have drawn this black but 
rapid sketch ? Is it unmeet to call upon Heaven to disperse 
the cloud that is gathering in the horizon, though years must 
past before it bursts upon our heads > Is it unmeet to pray to 
God with all the ardour of which the heart of man is capa- 
ble, to prevent a return of the scenes of which we have already 



97 



had so bitter an experience ? Is it unmeet for the father to 
clasp his offspring to his bosom and exclaim, " merciful and 
Almighty God, save my children from spoliation, massacre, 
and shame ?" Is it unmeet to implore of Heaven that tor- 
ture may not be renewed ? That the Riding-house and the 
Exchange may not echo with shrieks and groans ? That 
scaffolds may not stand in our streets, and that their chan- 
nels may not be red with gore ? I will frankly admit, that 
one among the many reasons by ^which I am swayed, in thus 
strongly enforcing this measure, is the deep community of 
sentiment which the utterance of a prayer for the freedom 
of Ireland will produce among all classes of the people. It 
will tend to link the clergy with us by a still stronger bond, 
and impart to the patriotism of the people a more exalted 
and enthusiastic character. Will it not be a noble spec- 
ctacle to behold the brave and impetuous peasantry of 
Ireland kneeling, on every Sabbath, before the altar of 
Heaven, and lifting up their brawny arms, and their rugged 
and impassioned faces, in the utterance of a prayer for the 
liberty of Ireland ? — and if any man should, after the insti- 
tution of this admirable practice, by w r hich a great political 
pursuit will be consecrated and made holy, be disposed to 
tell me that the Irish people are indifferent to their civil 
rights, I shall say to him — " Go into the humblest edifice 
dedicated to the w T orship of God, and w T hen you shall have 
heard the prayer for Emancipation pronounced from the 
altar, and beheld the passion and enthusiasm with which the 
humblest tillers of the earth will have joined in that noble 
supplication — when you shall have witnessed their ardent 
eyes and beaming countenances, and listened to the fervour 
of the exclamations with which they will unite their orisons 
with the minister of their persecuted religion, then you will 
not presume to tell me that seven millions of people are 
careless of the attainment of their political rights." 



MR. SHEIL'S 

SPEECH AT THE CLOSE OF THE POLL 



AT THE 

LOUTH ELECTION. 



Mr. DAWSON was elected by a majority of three hun- 
dred over Mr, Leslie Foster, the Anti-Catholic Candidate. 
Although the latter succeeded, yet the majority was so 
small, that he set off immediately from Dundalk in a state 
of dejection, and did not even wait until the Sheriff should 
have proclaimed the Candidates, which he did about five 
o'clock 

Mr. DAWSON came forward, and returned thanks in a 
very short, but emphatic speech. He stated, that he owed his 
election to the people, whose interests, he trusted in God, 
lie never should abandon. The spirit by which the great 
body of the community was actuated, had been powerfully 
evinced by his success. He had to boast of a vast majority 
over his rivals, who must have felt that it was vain upon 
their part to oppose the people and their rights. 

Mr. PENTLAND, the son of the agent of Mr, Foster, 
returned thanks for Mr. Leslie Foster. That gentleman had 
instructed him to state how deeply grateful he felt for the 
honour conferred upon him. A severe attack of illness had 
obliged him to leave Dundalk, and thus deprived him of 
the gratification of returning thanks in person. 

Mr. SHEIL rose and said, I am sincerely sorry, Mr, 
Sheriff, for the cause of Mr, Foster's absence, and for its 
effect. It is to be lamented that a gentleman so eminently 
popular as he is, should be only spiritually present — and 
should be under the necessity of employing a proxy for the 
expression of his gratitude ! How deeply should we regret 
that he is not here in his own proper person, instead of 
appearing by attorney, and that he should not have the 
opportunity of witnessing the enthusiasm with which his 



99 

name was received, and of attesting those demonstrations of 
public affection with which, no doubt, he must have been 
hailed. But a truce to irony. I should not have indulged 
in a sneer at the mortifications which Mr. Foster's politics 
have entailed upon him, but should rather cherish tbe hope 
that he will derive a wholesome admonition from the circum- 
stances of which he has been the witness in that county, in 
which the power of his family has sustained so fatal a shock. 
Let no man think that it is for the purpose of givng vent to 
any feeling of factious exultation, that I have risen to address 
you. No, Sir — I am not disposed to turn the signal success 
which the advocates of liberal opinions have attained, into 
any such miserable account. The result of the momentious 
contest in which he was engaged, has, indeed, afforded to me, 
as well as to every other Roman Catholic, a lofty gratifica- 
tion. Without indulging in the insolence, I cannot but 
participate in the pride of an honorable and useful triumph. 
That great cause, which involves the interests, and, as you 
cannot fail to feel, absorbes the passions of the vast popula- 
tion of this country — that cause in which the hopes and 
solicitude» of seven millions of our fellow-countrymen are 
so profoundly and fervently engaged — that great and glori- 
ous cause, (so at least I am accustomed to regard it) upon 
which the honor and dignity of the British character, and 
perhaps the safety of the British empire so immediately de- 
pend, has, by the event of this election, been essentially 
advanced. But the sentiment of elevated joy, which this 
event so naturally produces, ought to remain unalloyed by 
any meaner emotion, and it is the part of a wise and gene- 
rously minded man, instead of exasperating the passions and 
wounding the feelings of those over whom an advanntage 
has been obtained, to use every effort which may not be 
inconsistent with his own dignity and honor, to conciliate 
those whom adversity ought to have instructed, and to en- 
deavour, by a calm appeal to the just feelings and to the 
unbiassed reason of his antagonists, to disabuse them of 
their impressions ; to open the avenues to concord, to smooth 
those asperities which prevent the minds of men from cohe- 
ring together, to unite all partes to an amnesty of mutual 
injuries, and prepare the way, if it be possible, to a great 
national pacification — It is, Sir, for the purpose of promoting 
these objects, as far as it lies in my power, that I have risen 
in an assembly, composed, to a great extent, of the chief 
Protestant gentry of this opulent and highly populous coun- 
try ; and although I am not sufficiently vain to imagine that 
I shall be able to charm their prejudices away, yet I cannot 
K2 



100 



help thinking that much has recently taken place beneath 
their own eyes, which affords a salutary admonition, and 
from which a very useful lesson may be derived. Let us, 
then, look back for a moment, and consider what has befallen 
us. A powerful and strongly illustrative incident is prefer- 
able to many speculations. It is in political as well as in 
physical science. That philosophy which searches for truth 
through the medium of undisputed fact, ought to be applied 
to ethics, as well as to external nature ; and he is far more 
likely to be right who estimates the dispositions of men by 
the phenomena in which they are exhibited, than he who 
deduces his conclusions from theory, and builds the whole 
system of legislation upon conjecture. The events of which 
we have had an immediate and personal cognizance, 
afford data from which the most strenuous opponent of Ca- 
tholic Emancipation will be much more likely to draw a 
sound inference, than from any of those hereditary notions 
which have been imbibed in infancy, and have strengthened 
with youth and manhood, and to whicb men are so habitu- 
ally but so erroniously disposed to refer, as the tests of irre- 
fragible truth. . I would entreat of the most inveterate 
advocate of Protestant Ascendancy to lay aside, if it be pos- 
sible, impressions which we are so apt to mistake for argu- 
ment, and to ask of himself whether what he has himself 
attested, and of which he has had the recent occular 
demonstration, should not lead him to enquire whether 
some change in the condition of this country is not requisite, 
whether the health of the political frame be so sound as to 
supersede all necessity of reformation, and whether it be 
wise and just, and consistent with sound policy, and with 
the great rules and canons of Government, to exclude from 
the full enjoyment of the privileges of British Citizenship 
seven millions of the population of this country ? That 
question is to be solved by inquiring into the moral state of 
that population, and by considering how far they are inves- 
ted with power and influence — how far they are contented 
with their condition, and by having regard to the likelihood 
of their submitting to their disqualifications in the spirit of 
servile and permanent acquiescence. Now, Sir, I will ven- 
ture boldly to assert, that the manifestation of public feeling 
which has taken place in this country, and which is only an 
evidence of the sentiment that pervades the whole body of the 
people, renders it more expedient, and will even render it 
wholly impossible, to persevere in that system of degrading and 
exasperating exclusion by which not only the passions of the 
people are peovoked, and their indignation is excited, but 



101 

by which their energies are aroused into a formidable, 
a confederated, a daring, a dauntless excitation. I 
should not set any sort of value upon the result of the 
contest in this country, unless it were indicative of the 
general condition of Ireland. As the health of the whole 
body may be tried by feeling the pulse in a single member, 
so from its beating in any specific part of the country the 
general circulation of that sentiment, which constitutes the 
great principle of political vitality, may be determined. 
Indeed the events which have taken place in this civilised, 
opulent and prosperous part of Ireland, furnish a better 
illustration of its moral condition, than any incidents of an 
analogous nature which have taken place in other counties. 
In Water ford, for example, a great proprietor, with a for- 
tune of nearly twenty thousand pounds a year, the lineal 
descendant of the great Earl of Desmond, did not place 
himself at the head of a mere populace, but in the foremost 
ground of a powerful Catholic aristocracy. For two years 
the way was prepared for his success. Every stimulant 
which could be applied to the popular passions, was per- 
severingly and prodigally employed. All that eloquence, 
'patriotism and religion could accomplish, was achieved; but 
in this county, where no contest has taken place for fifty- 
eight years, the most remote notion of overthrowing the 
despotism of the Protestant aristocracy did not exist. The 
most ardent enthusiast did not contemplate the possibility of 
shaking the long-established and deeply founded dominion 
of a family, who were accustomed to consider the represen- 
tation of the count}' as an appurtenance of their estate, and 
as a kind of heir-loom of their house. It is true that nine 
years ago Mr. Balfour engaged in an enterprise, which he 
afterwards relinquished as a rash and idle one. He imma- 
gined that he would have been able to throw off the Foster 
yoke, and canvassed the county upon liberal principles. 
He applied to several Roman Catholics for their support, 
and obtained their promises. But the more I observe of life, 
the more I am satisfied of the justice of the Horatian maxim, 
" nil adinirari," The very man who was the first to lift up 
the standard of revolt against this hereditary dominion, 
was the first to throw down the flag which he had unfurled, 
and take to his heels. I presume, from the energy, the 
constancy, and moral intrepidity which that gentleman has 
displayed, that he must be descended from the famous Bal- 
four of Burley, whose heroic feats are recorded by Sir 
Walter Scott. I do not presume to pass any censure upon 
K 3 



102 



his conduct, but I must say, that I heard with no little sur- 
prise, that after having proclaimed himself the champion of 
independence, he gave his vote for Foster and Fortesue, and 
opposed the advocate of Catholic emancipation. Alas, for Mr. 
Balfour ! He is one of those who, instead of seizing fortune 
by the forelock, wait until she is beyond their reach to make 
an unavailing grasp at the skirt of her garment. Had he 
stood for this county, he would, beyond a doubt, have been 
returned ; but the opportunity has gone by, and will return 
no more. It was in this state of things, when the only per- 
son belonging to the aristocracy who had presumed to inti- 
mate a notion of resistance to Mr, Foster, had relinquished 
so desperate a purpose, that Mr. Dawson, without wealth 
or patrician connexions, resting his pretensions upon his 
principles as a politician, and his worth as a man, offered 
himself as a candidate, and in an instant the energies of the 
people were aroused, and started up in an array of confe- 
derated and appalling power. An eruption of popular feel- 
ing took place, which indicated that there had been long 
accumulating a mass of fiery materials, which at last found 
a vent, and swept away every impediment in their progress. 
But let me lay aside the language of illustration, and state 
the plain and simple fact, from which such important con- 
clusions are to be derived. Two days before the election 
took place, no idea of a contest was entertained ; and yet, 
the moment a friend to Catholic emancipation was proposed, 
the whole tenantry of the county simultaneously revolted 
against their landlords, and in direct opposition to their 
wishes, gave their suffrages to the advocate of religious free-* 
dom. This single fact speaks volumes. When we take into 
our consideration the very great influence which a landlord 
must exercise over his tenant, in that state of almost univer- 
sal pauperism in which the peasantry are placed, it becomes 
a matter of wonder that the miserable occupiers of the soil, 
thus dependant and prostrate before their masters, should 
presume to act in opposition to their desires. There must 
be some most extraordinary force, to counteract the domi- 
nion of those, at whose will they may be said to breathe. 
What, then, is that most powerful and compulsive stimu-, 
lant ? What is that fierce and irresistable incentive which 
raises and impels the lower orders into a resistance, so appa- 
rently unnatural, and which is so utterly at variance with 
their individual interests ? What is it that induces the pea- 
sant to rend that bond asunder which it would be but rea- 
sonable to suppose that it would be impossible to sever, and 



103 



makes him confront starvation, and look ruin in the face ? 
These interrogatories bring back to my mind a scene, of 
which I was myself the witness, during this election, and 
by which (and I say it without the least affectation) I ^vas 
profoundly moved. I saw a man brought up to the hust- 
ings, of an athletic form, and a countenance, upon whose 
strong and massive features passion had set a deep stamp. 
Although a peasant of the humblest class, lie bore the 
traces of a rude but vigorous sensibility. He at once 
attracted my attention. 1 felt a curiosity to learn for 
whom he should vote, for I perceived that there was a strong 
contest of emotions going on within him. When asked for 
whom he should give his first vote, he answered Mr. For- 
tescue ; but when the Deputy enquired for whom his 
second vote was to be given, I perceived that the question 
went through his heart. The poor man stood silent, agi- 
tated, and aghast. A succession of various and contending 
feelings passed rapidly over his face- He leaned upon the 
piece of wood which formed the boundary of the hustings 
for support ; his whole frame was shaken by the violent 
passions which rushed upon him — his knee became slackened 
— his chest lost its openness and dilation — and while he 
grasped his arm with the force of one who endeavours to 
work himself into determination, I could perceive that 
quivering of the fingers, which is peculiarly indicative of 
emotion. The Deputy repeated the question, and still he 
ga\e no answer; but it was easy to conjecture what was 
passing in his mind ; it was evident that he was contemplat- 
ing the consequences of fulfilling what he felt to be his 
political and religious duty. He was revolving the results 
of his landlord's indignation. He stood like the martyr 
who gazes upon, and half shrinks from the rack. " Poor- 
wretch (I whispered to myself) he is thinking of his family- 
his cottage and his fields have come into his imagination. — 
He sees his wife and his children gathered about him — he 
stands at the door of his wretched habitation, and sees the 
driver entering his little farm, seizing his unreaped corn, 
mowing down his meadow, carting his potatoes, and driving 
his only beast to the pound. This vision of misery has 
disturbed him. The anticipations of calamity press upon 
his heart, and assume the aspect of reality in his mind. He 
beholds himself expelled from the little spot of earth where 
he was born, and where he hoped to die, turned with his 
children upon the public road, without roof, or food, or 
raiment, sent in beggary and nakedness upon the world, 
with no other hope to cheer him but that of death,, and no 



104 



eye to pity him but that of Heaven. The cries of his chil- 
dren pierce into his nature, and his bosom bursts with that 
fearful agony that breaks the husband's and the .father's 
heart." It was thus that I explained to myself the agitation 
of the wretched man who stood before me, When the Deputy 
repeated the question for the third time, and asked him 
again to whom he gave his second vote ? What do 
you think he did ? With all that dreadful scene in his 
imagination — with all that spectacle of misery present to his 
mind — with woe, and want, and sorrow, and utter destitu- 
tion before him — with nature pleading in his bosom — with 
the cries of his children in his ears — after an interval of 
horrible suspense, the miserable man called up all his ener- 
gies, and with all the valour of despair, answered, " I vote 
for Dawson !" Landlords that hear me, let me ask of your 
consciences, what could have wrought this poor peasant into 
such an exertion of intrepidity as this ? You know that I 
have, in this individual picture, done no more than paint the 
feelings by which the whole body of your revolted peasantry 
are influenced. Again, then, I ask you, what could have 
produced this dreadful courage, this desperate intrepidity ? 
Nothing but that principle which is paramount to all others 
in the bosom of man — which sets all earthly ill at nought, 
and by which all fear is vanquished — nothing but religion 
could accomplish this ! And if it has accomplished this — if 
it has wrought these wonders among the whole Catholic 
community — if it has generated these marvellous and appal- 
ling results, you, and those with whom you sympathise, are 
to blame. Your mad perseverance in the sustainment of the 
penal code — your deplorable obstinacy in the habits of per- 
secution — your absurd and fanatical adherence to the system 
of religious disqualification have produced these results. 
You have set up the pulpits from which the dogmas of which 
you complain are inculcated — you have established the code 
of political casuistry, which justifies this rebellion against 
your legitimate dominion — you have forced your tenants 
into resistance, and by its very weight compelled them to 
throw off the yoke. It is in vain that you talk of distraining. 
If the peasant sees the warrant of distress upon the one 
hand, he beholds the Cross upon the other. Martyrs you 
may make, but slaves you never can. There is another 
topic which you will forgive me for pressing upon your con- 
sideration. From what has been done, judge what may be 
done. If the tenant has resisted his landlord — if he has 
bidden defiance to the man who has the means of prompt 
and immediate vengeance, what part would he perform. — 



105 



if, under the influence of some disastrous temptation, his 
passions were to come into collision with his duty, and he 
were invited by some mad adventurer to engage in a tremen- 
dous experiment ? Do not disguise it from yourselves. It 
is a dreadful thing to live in a country surrounded by a fierce 
and daring population, whose minds would take fire at a 
single spark, and burst into a simultaneous explosion* If 
you have any regard for the peace and welfare of your chil- 
dren, you will take the means of averting events which 
it requires but little of the spirit of political prophecy to fore- 
see. But I perceive that I am entering upon subjects on which 
it is perilous to tread — let me turn into a better path, and with 
i devout wish, that the possibilities to which I have glanced 
may never be realised. I trust in God that the progress of 
iberal opinions will be so rapid, that measures may shortly 
\ye adopted which will effect a general reconciliation, and 
mite us all in lasting harmony and sincere and genuine con- 
cord. I do not even despair of seeing Mr. Leslie Foster 
limself contributing his abilities to this useful work, and 
■epairing the injury he has done to his country, by his zeal 
n her service. If he has been formidable as an antagonist, 
le will in the same measure be useful as an advocate. He 
las a glorious example before him. The name of Brown- 
ow is consecrated in the affections of his country. Would 
hat the time may come, when in place of being op- 
)osed by the popular feeling with all that strenuousness 
rhich has been displayed against him, he may be carried 
vith a concurrent acclamatidn into Parliament. With the 
xpression of this hope, I shall conclude anadress in which 
feel that 1 have committed some trespass opon your indul- 
gence, and I retire from amongst you with an earnest prayer, 
hat in place of witnessing the scenes of contention and of 
crimony which have accompanied this election, I may, 
pon my next coming amongst you, see Catholic and Pro- 
estant combining and co-operating together for the' ad- 
ancement of morality, the propagation of good principles, 
he diffusion of comfort, and the extension of education, 
argetting all their past differences, and looking forward to 
tie future good of Ireland, with an honourable emulation 
i its promotion, exemplifying the precepts of true religion 
a an oblivion of every animosity, and merging all the dis- 
inctions of sect in the fellowship of a common country* 



MR. O'CONNELL'S 



SPEECH ON CHURCH RATES AND PARISH 
CESS, 



DELIVERED AT 



A CATHOLIC MEETING, 

On the 10th January, 1827. 



THERE is but one real enemy to Ireland, and that is the 
man who violates the law— one thing can alone injure the 
cause of civil liberty in Ireland, and that is, any violation 
of the law. Could I but persuade the Irish people of the 
great injury which they inflict on themselves, more than on 
any one else, by a violation of the law. their physical force, 
which is great and encreasing, would be united with an im- 
mense moral strength, and such a combination of powers 
would render it impossible for any species of misgovern- 
ment to continue in this country. 

Never violate the law ! Such is my text : the comment 
on it will be this Act of Parliament. The most terrific Act 
of Parliament to the well-wisher of the peace and happiness 
of Ireland that passed in my recollection; an act highly 
likely to exasperate, and in its result, to degrade us still 
more, unless the people shall have the good sense and pati- 
ence to refrain from violating the law, as long as it continues 
to be law, and look for redress in the manner we wish they 
should, by petition and remonstrance. If the people at- 
tempt to resist it by force, or to avenge it by outrage, they 
will make it perpetual. It is indeed, impossible, that so 
oppressive and extensively mischievous an act, should con- 
tinue law, unless the attention of the legislature be directed 
from its injustice, to the crimes of its victims. 

The Act in question is technically called the 7th Geo. 4, 
c. 72. It is entitled " An Act to consolidate and amend the 
laws which regulate the levy and application of Church Ratet 



107 



and Parish Cesses, and the election of Church-wardens, and 
the maintenance of Parish Clerks in Ireland,'* To amend. — 
Take notice that this is an Act to amend the law . Before 
I sit down you will see w T hat that is, which, by a species of 
bitter irony, is called an amendment. 

The history of this Act is curious : it is highly illustrative 
of the manner in which this lovely and wretched land is 
administered. It is a kind of relief to the soreness of the 
heart, when a simple statement of facts serves for every 
purpose of reproach and vituperation. 

For many years past loud and vehement complaints were 
made of the manner in which Church Rates and Parish 
Cesses were levied in Ireland. There were always great 
abuses in the system, and, not unfrequently, individual 
instances of the grossest oppression were laid before the 
public. The subject was a common topic of discussion in 
the Old Association. We boldly assailed this crying and 
constant grievance, and that was one great reason why the 
Old Association w^as suppressed. I know it was the chief 
reason why the Algerine Act was passed. 1 do not now 
speak on supposition or inferentially. A communication 
w T as made to me by a distinguished Protestant gentleman^ 
high in the confidence of Lord Wellesley's Government ; 1 
was told by him, as I entered the door below stairs, that if 
the Old Catholic Association would give up the topic of 
Church Rates, it w T as highly probable that no Bill would be 
brought in for its suppression, and that I myself w r ould not 
be prosecuted. Here I am to whom that communication 
was made ; but if that prosecution threatened my life, in- 
stead of being, at the utmost, for a misdemeanor, 1 would 
have given a similar answer to the one I then returned — 
that I considered the Church Rates one of the most abomi- 
nable and illegal grievances by which this country was 
oppressed, and that I would never compromise that feeling. 
VVe proceeded. The result was, the Old Association was 
suppressed. I am not now surprised at that suppression, 
when I see Government had in contemplation this Act of 
Parliament, which w T as passed last Sessions, under the pre- 
tence of an amicable amendment. It passed unnoticed and 
unknown. But if the Old Association had sat at the time 
this Act was printed, we would have raised such an opposi- 
tion to it, we would have so exposed its peculating provi- 
sions, that it would be as impossible for any open enemy to 
carry it, as for the worse foe — any disguised friend — to 
support it. 

The law has been for many years different in England 



108 



and Ireland. In England no church can be built by order 
of Vestry. The vestries there have no power to build or to 
rebuild churches ; they have only the power to repair them. 
— Thus a leading difference exists between the law on this 
subject in England and in Ireland. Several Acts of Parlia- 
ment have given the power to vestries in Ireland to build, 
rebuild, and repair churches. The common sense of England 
would not allow the majority of a parish, composed, perhaps, 
of many interested persons, to bind the property of all to so 
great an extent as the expence of building a church. In 
England there is a natural and just sensitiveness as to allow- 
ing one man to put his hand into another man's pocket and 
take out his money. 1 hey, therefore, never gave the vestry 
this power. But matters have been managed quite in another 
guise with us. Here it has been for near two centuries the 
ruling principle of state policy to allow every body connected 
with the Established Church to dip as deeply into the 
people's pockets as they pleased, and to take out as much as 
they possibly could. Diis aliter visum. Accordingly there 
were several Acts of Parliament passed, which allowed the 
parish vestries in Ireland, often composed exclusively of the 
Protestants, or at all events, and in the most favourable 
case, under the entire management of the Protestant inhabi- 
tants to assess the parish as they pleased. In short, the 
Catholics were, by management excluded from the ves- 
tries, although always the most numerous in nine- 
teen-twentieths of the kingdom. In Ireland the ves- 
tries could repair or rebuild, or build anew, and on a diffe- 
rent scite, churches at their discretion or caprice. The cause 
of the necessity for this power was in itself a source of una- 
vailing but bitter reflection. 

At the Reformation this land was replenished with 
Churches, You cannot now stroll for a mile amidst our 
green and neglected plains, without seeing the ruins of the 
ancient church of some parish or monastery. At the time 
the baleful Reformation reached our shores they were all 
flourishing and full. No tax was levied to build or sustain 
them. The revenues of the church supplied an ample and 
ungrudged fund. But the plundering Reformation came. 
The revenues of the Church passed into other hands — 
Those who then took to themselves the revenues of the 
Church, let the Churches go to ruin, and having first 
allowed the Catholic churches to go to ruin, they then turn 
round on the Catholics, and by Act of Parliament make us 
rebuild them. Was ever there in any country under the sun 
an evil like to this ? Our Catholic ancestors built churches 



109 

to serve for them and their posterity, with splendid revenues 
to sustain them. Then came the Reformation and took 
away the revenues, turned the Catholics out of their 
Churches, consumed and still fattens on the Church income, 
and crowned all by making the Catholics build, repair, and 
maintain other Churches for these reformers. 

It did not occur thus in Greece. The Greeks were only 
subject to the Turks, and the Turks, although they took 
away the ancient Churches from their Greek slaves, had too 
much humanity to make them build new ones for the Maho- 
metan worship. In this, as in many other Acts towards this 
unfortunate country, the English stand unrivalled. They 
beat the Turks all to nothing, and Ireland stands alone in 
the sad story of variegated and unremitting oppression. 

The Reformation was, in my humble judgment, one of 
the most horrible calamities that ever afflicted the human 
race. I do not allude to the new Articles of Faith, or the 
fantastic doctrines it might have introduced, I speak of it as 
a political and moral event. It was a monstrous evil ; for, 
in the first place, it corrupted to the core public and private 
morals. The deluge of immorality and vice that followed it, 
was its immediate and most striking feature — profligacy and 
perfidy and crime. The disregard of every law of man, and 
the contempt for every restraint of the law of God, charac- 
terised its infancy and announced its progress. These are 
truths to which all the leading and prominent reformers 
bear the most distinct, though unwilling testimony. Luther 
and Zuinglius, Melancthon, Beza, and Calvin, differing as 
they do in every thing else, all agree in this fact. It is true 
that they lamented and deplored the spread of immorality 
amongst the followers of the Reformation, and stated, that 
as men became better in faith they grew worse in works. 
The Reformation did not stop here — it took away the reve- 
nues of the Church, and appropriated them to lay hands — it 
robbed the people of their rights — it robbed the poor of 
their property — it destroyed the funds to relieve the indi- 
gent, to solace the sick, to clothe the children of poverty, to 
sustain the wretched orphan, and to comfort the desolate 
widow. It applied to the purposes of laymen the property 
of the Church and of charity. In short, the Reformation 
gave to a married and heartless clergy, and to a profligate 
gentry, who controuled that clergy, the inheritance of the 
Lord and his poor, and entailed new burthens on the peo- 
ple. For my present purpose, I need only consider its 
effects as they relate to the building and repairing of 
Churches. 
L 



110 



I lay it down as a perfectly plain and indisputable position, 
that in Catholic times the people were not burthened with 
building or repairing of Churches. In Catholic times the 
English Barons claimed, as one of their proudest privileges, 
to build Churches at their own expence. It appears in 
ancient Statutes, that this was one of the rights of free 
Englishmen, that each of them, who chose, might build a 
Church at his own expence. Thus, in Catholic times, the 
people at large could not be taxed or fleeced to build 
Churches. Individual piety created those Churches, which 
Reformation rapacity has strewed in ruin around us. The 
repairing of the Churches was not left, in Catholic times, to 
individual benevolence, but the people were protected from 
any exaction. The fourth part of the tithes was dedicated 
to the sustentation of the fabric of the Church, and the 
expence of the Service — to these things for which at present 
Church Rates are levied. The portion thus set apart was 
called the quarta pars. It was originally received by the 
Bishops, and by them applied to the repairs and other 
expenditure connected with Divine Service. Afterwards 
the Bishops relinquished this quarta pars to the Parochial 
Clergy; but in their hands it was equally liable to this 
expence, and they (the Parochial Clergy) were then bound 
to repair and defray these charges. 

Such was the system in Catholic times, and but for the 
Reformation we should not have to pay one shilling of 
Parish Cess or Church Rates. Whoever now pays Parish 
Cess or Church Rates, should express his gratitude to the 
Reformation for imposing that burthen on him. Oh ! 
blessed Reformation, which generated the grossest immora- 
lity, spawned one thousand sects, robbed the poor, and 
fleeced the people. 

In Ireland we have still some curious traces of the exis- 
tence, down to a late period, of the severance of this fourth 
part, the quarta pars of Catholic times. In the province of 
Connaught the Archbishops continued to receive this quarta 
pars from every parish in the Archdiocese, down to the year 
1717* To be sure they were not fools enough to lay it out 
on the Churches — it was little enough for themselves. They 
had only about ninety thousand arable acres of land — a 
splendid palace — a peculiar diocese or two— a noble domain: 
that was all. They, however, kept the quarta pars till 
1717, when, by a Statute of 4th Geo. I. cap. xiv., it was 
transferred to the Parochial Clergy. But were these obliged 
to repair ? No ; the Legislature gave the Protestant Parsons 
the fund, but, at the same time, they shifted this burthen 



Ill 



for ever on the people. The Protestant Parsons gladly took 
all our tithes to themselves, and, with equal cheerfulness, 
made the Catholic People build and repair the Protestant 
Churches. 

This contrast between Catholic lenity and Protestant pres- 
sure on the people, is not the creation of my fancy. We 
lawyers love to cite our authorities, and, therefore, beside 
the statute I have mentioned, I refer any person desirous to 
authenticate the sources of my information to a book called 
: Burn's Ecclesiastical Law/ 1st vol. p. 350 ; and to Degge's 
Parson's Counsellor, chap. 12. The doctrine which I have 
thus laid down is to be found not only in the books of Ec- 
clesiastical Law, but is recognised by our common law 
authorities. In Ball v. Cross, Salk. 164. — Chief Justice 
Holt lays it down as an incontrovertible proposition that u at 
common law the parson is bound to repair the church/' He 
adds, " that it is so still in foreign countries !" that is, in Ca- 
tholic countries where the burthen is thrown from the people 
on the clergy. But in Ireland the Reformation has reversed 
the principle. Though the Parson here possesses only the 
shadow of spiritual influence, and has no flock to attend to, 
he enjoys all the substantial Ecclesiastical revenues, and the 
building of the church is thrown upon thp flock who re- 
ceive no instruction at his hands, and who derive not the 
least benefit from his office. This evil is felt in Ireland as a 
practical one, exceeded by no other. 

It is curious to see the progress of legislative enactments 
in Ireland to aggravate this evil. The churches had been 
fallen into decay ; there were in many places no Protestant 
parishioners, or so few as to render it ridiculous and absurd 
to build a church for them. But it was desirable to make 
all the inhabitants contribute to give money to the few Pro- 
testants wherever they were to be found. The steps by 
which this universal contribution of the Catholic peasantry 
to the Protestants of the vestry was accomplished, are wor- 
thy of notice in the history of religious persecution and do- 
mestic oppression. They first began by an Act of Parlia- 
ment, authorising the Lord Lieutenant and Privy Council to 
unite parishes which had no church and few Protestant pa- 
rishioners, to any other parish having a church. This was 
done by the 14th and 15th Char. 2. ch. 10, an Act in force 
for only 20 years. It was, however, renewed for ten years 
by another Act, called the 2d Geo. 1, ch. 14, and at length 
made perpetual by the Act of 13 Geo. 2. chap. 4. This, 
however, was not sufficient to glut the voracity of vestry 
assessment. There were individual interests of Protestant 
L 2 



112 



patrons — and also inconveniences with respect to Govern- 
ment patronage, in such unions, and less cumbrous and more 
dexterous machinery to bring Catholic parishes within the 
gripe of vestry assessment was desirable. This was carried 
one step further, by an Act passed also in the reign of Geo. 
2. It is technically called the 3d Geo. 2. ch. 11. By this 
Act, the bishop of each diocese is enabled to make unions 
for the purposes of contribution — pro hac vice — or for any 
particular occasion. This Act greatly facilitates a vestry in 
one part of a county, to assess a parish, perhaps, twenty 
miles off, for all the parochial salaries and expenditure of 
the persons connected with such vestries. It is a very sum- 
mary process by which the poor Catholic peasantry of Cun- 
nemara, for example, may be obliged to contribute to the 
expences of a church at Ballinasloe, and for the services 
performed by a parson, whose person they do not know, 
and whose name they never hear of, save when read at the 
foot of a citation from the Ecclesiastical Court, or at the 
head of a eivil bill process to the Sessions. But even this 
was not sufficient. There were still some parishes that had 
a parson without any church whatsoever ; nay, if he had 
more than one Parish, there was no church in any of them. 
This was a case in which neither the Lord Lieutenant nor 
the Privy Council, nor the Bishop could interfere, so as to 
make such parishes pay church rates. There were, accord- 
ingly, several parishes in Ireland exempt from church rates. 
But the wisdom of the Imperial Parliament has even reach- 
ed this case. In my researches on this subject, I have 
found, that during the administration of Mr. Plunkett, and 
Goulburn, and Lord Wellesley — during the reign of his 
present most Gracious Majesty, that reign from which the 
Catholics of Ireland had so many reasons to anticipate bene- 
fits — by the 4th Geo. 4. ch. 86, the simple order of an 
Archbishop or Bishop is made equivalent to an union of 
parishes, so as to render any parish not having a church of 
its own, liable to contribute to the building of the church 
of any other parish the Bishop may please. Aye, at fifty 
or sixty miles distant if he pleases. In fact this Act was 
stolen upon us by the means of that ignorance of what is 
going on in a foreign Parliament, which that most mischiev- 
ous measure, the Union, necessarily produced. 

I could not peruse the history of that statute I hold in 
my hand, without exposing the vile perfection of that sys- 
tem of legislative enactment, which has brought every pa- 
rish in Ireland within the ravening grasp of some vestry or 
other — I may say foreign or domestic. 



\ 



113 



I now resume the more immediate story of this Act. — 
We had, in the Old Association, exclaimed against the sys- 
tem of organized plunder, carried on in several vestries. — 
We entered into details — gave dates, and sums, and places. 
To rational minds we would have afforded conviction. But 
we were replied to in the usual style. We were called agi- 
tators, demagogues, and calumniators of the Established 
Church. This was quite sufficient logic, and Parliament 
refused to do any thing for us. Sir John Newport, how- 
ever, was not satisfied. He brought the matter before Par- 
liament in the shape of a distinct motion. He accused the 
vestries of gross peculation, and systematic plunder of both 
Catholics and Protestants. He said, and said properly, that 
they ought not to be condemned unheard- He concluded 
by moving for a return of the sums levied by vestries for 
the last twelve years — declaring that he required only to 
have these returns produced, and he would prove from them 
the illegality of the peculation which had taken place. It 
was impossible to refuse his request. Accordingly an order 
was made for the vestry assessments for the last twelve 
years, and by these returns the accounts of assessments were 
brought to the year 1825. On the 22d of February, in that 
year, Sir John Newport called the attention of the House 
to them. He made an admirable speech on that occasion* 
Many of our delegates who were then in London heard 
that speech. It was miserably reported, as speeches on the 
local affairs of Ireland generally are. But even in that mi- 
serable report there appear some facts to shew what a pow- 
erful case Sir John Newport made out against the parish 
vestries in Ireland. His ascusation of their foul delin- 
quency was so clearly established, that even Goulburn did 
not venture to defend the vestries. Only conceive how de- 
cisive a case must have been made out when that unblush- 
ing assertor, Goulburn, did not hazard the slightest con- 
tradiction. Sir John Newport prefaced the details of ves- 
try peculation with some remarks which I have extracted 
from the report. He said, 

<( It was utterly impossible, indeed, that so corrupt and 
profligate a system as he was prepared to bring under the 
notice of the House, could be permitted to continue." 

These are the words. — Mark — Corrupt and profligate are 
the terms in which he justly characterises the system of 
parish vestries in Ireland. I am glad that there was no 
one found in the House so corrupt and profligate as to con- 
tradict him. But, alas ! how miserably has this anticipa- 
tion been destroyed. He proceeded. 



114 



" .Last year the House had on his (Sir John Newport's) 
motion, directed returns of parochial rates levied in Ireland 
for the last twelve years. These returns were exceedingly 
voluminous, and disclosed a system of abuse and misappli- 
cation of the money raised by the vestries in Ireland, to 
which, he believed, there was nothing at all parallel. The 
parochial vestries in Ireland set the law completely at defi- 
ance." 

" The Parochial vestries in Ireland set the law completely 
at defiance!" We have been called agitators when we 
made such an assertion. Sir John Newport called for the 
documents and established its truth. To establish that the 
vestries in Ireland were corrupt and profligate, and set all 
law at defiance, Sir John referred to several instances of 
gross and illegal charges made by the vestries. I have se- 
lected a few of them. I will begin with the county of 
Louth — once Foster's, now Dawson's county. — I use Sir 
John's reported words : 

" Ardee. — In the return from the Union of Ardee, there 
w r as a very extraordinary item. — Two dozen of wine were 
charged for the Sacrament, at £5 18s, and as the quality 
of this wine was not thought good enough, there was a 
charge next year for two dozen, of a better flavour, amount- 
ing to £7 12s. Every one who was acquainted with the 
price of wine in Ireland, must see at once the profligacy of 
this charge." 

Can any serious christian read this profligacy without 
shuddering at the idea of ludicrous blasphemy which it is 
calculated to suggest — sacred Heaven, has the turpitude 
or the tavern mixed with the administration of the Sa- 
craments? If the base Press of London could cite an 
instance of this kind against Jesuits or Apostolicals, or 
any other nick-name in which its rancour loves to in- 
dulge, ^hen assailing Catholic worship — if the writers of 
that vile Press could turn to an instance of this kind, 
confessed and proved as this is — what torrents of vulgar 
abuse — what flood-gates of calumny would be opened 
upon us. I merely cite it to shew what " e the law Church 
in Ireland can do in the way of meanness and sacrilege," I 
will now relieve you by a charge of a lighter nature — 
but equally illegal. I go to Tipperary, and still quote Sir 
John. 

"Thurles, Co. Tipperary. — In the Parish of Thurles, 
County Tipperary, it appeared that a sum of £$7 10s. was 
charged for ornaments, hangings, and crimson fringe, where 
nineteen twentieths of the rates were paid by the Catholic 



115 



occupying tenants, who derived no possible advantage real 
or imaginary, from the ornaments employed in the service 
of a different religion/' 

A robbery of the Tipperary Papists, of the sum of 
£37 10s , for it was a robbery, was hardly worth while 
talking of. — We will pass it over, and go to Wexford. I 
must here trouble you with a much longer extract. 

u Wexford. — In the town of Wexford, it appeared that 
a parish clerk's salary was charged £20 : this was followed 
by a curious item: ditto, for early services, £10, sexton 
and beadle, £10, which was raised, in 1814, to £20, in 
consequence of the practice of ringing a bell being discon- 
tinued for want of a bell. The sexton and beadle left off 
ringing the bell, for the best of reasons to wit — that there 
was no bell to ring, and this, forsooth, was the reason for 
raising his salary from ten pounds to twenty pounds, — This 
was by no means a solitary, it was not even a strong case, 
compared with many which he should have to state to the 
House." 

" In another case, an en creased salary was given to a 
parish clerk, and a compensation given to another clerk for 
having been removed. There was an item given of 20 gui- 
neas for an organ.. Now he (Sir John Newport) did not 
know what right or authority any of these vestries had to 
tax the parishioners for an organ ; at all events, common 
decency demanded that the Roman Catholic laity, who 
were excluded from the vestries, ought not to be called upon 
to defray the expences of an organ used in a Protestant 
Church. This expence for an organ was raised, in the year 
1815, to fifty pounds, the corporation having withdrawn its 
contribution for want of funds. In consequence, therefore, 
of the corporation having discontinued to pay their share of 
the expence, the parish was taxed to the further amount of 
£30. In the following year the corporation declined paying 
the expence of repairing and mending the clock, and this 
expence was also charged upon the parish." 

We next hear of Castlecomer. This is the residence of 
our hopeful friend — because we crnnot help it — Butler 
Clarke. His aged mother is surrounded with a bevy of she 
saints, and he saints, who hate popery as the devil is said to 
hate holy water, Let us see whether there be any saintly 
peculation of popish money amongst them — they are liberal 
enough at any rate not to hate popish money. Kere is what 
Sir John says of them — 

Castlecomer, County Kilkenny. — In the return from 
the parish of Castlecomer, in the County Kilkenny, there 



116 



were some singular items — one Mr. William Taylor's bill was 
charged £22 : 7*. there came an item interest on ditto, two 
guineas. This was a Carpenter's bill for repairing his own 
house. But who did the House conceive this Wm. Taylor 
was ? Let them not imagine that he figured only in the 
capacity of a carpenter. He was, moreover, the parish 
clerk and schoolmaster — and the account of this ingenious 
pluralist stood thus — 



For repairing his own house 
Interest on ditto 
Salary as clerk 
Do. as schoolmaster 
Annual gratuity 

Total 



£22 7 

2 

20 

20 3 

6 2 6 



£70 l| 6 



We next come to Drogheda. The holy zeal for peculation 
shines here with peculiar lustre. 

" Drogheda. — One more rate as to another parish, into 
which, by itself alone, all possible sins and violations of law 
seemed to be collected. Against the parish of Saint Peter, 
Drogheda, there was charged — an organist, £50 a year ; a 
boy to assist the organist, £5 a year ; to the tuner of the 
organ, £l0 — the parish clerk was paid £80 — ten pounds 
more than was allowed by the statute ; the sexton had £24 
— raised in 1818 to £31, Then for rebuilding the house of 
the parish clerk — this was in the year 1815, £429 19^> 
Had any body ever heard before of a parish building houses 
for a clerk and sexton ; and at such a cost as £42y ? And 
this was not all — for actually, in the year 1823, there was 
4 for improving the clerk's house/ a charge of £33. A fur- 
ther item of £6 : 11.?. appeared for wax candles. And for 
wine for the sacrament, from the year 1812, to the present 
time, from £21 to £36 annually." 

This extortion seems to have been considered by the house 
as matter of exquisite jest and high humour. — They laughed 
heartily, it seems, at the plunder of Irish Papists. If they 
had themselves been robbed, they would think it a scurvy 
joke enough. There is one observation on this Drogheda 
extortion which I cannot omit, By calculating the money 
levied for sacramental service, it appears that the communi- 
cants must have consumed, in the twelve years which the 
return embraces, no less than four pipes of port wine, and 
indeed more. Four pipes of wine consumed in communion 
service. I check every propensity to jest, and leave the 



117 



fact to sink deep on the minds of the reflecting persons who 
are ignorant of the nature of the foul faction by which the 
Catholics in Ireland are oppressed, and for whom they are 
sacrificed, and who require four pipes of wine for commu- 
nion service ! ! ! 

The next shall be Tuam. Tuam is long renowned in 
the annals of intolerance. Indeed it is classic ground in 
the sad story of money-loving bigotry. Mark some of 
the evils of the bad days commemorated by Sir John. — 

€€ Tuam. — The next document he should notice was a re- 
turn from Tuam, in which city there was a Cathedral as well 
as a Parochial Church. He begged to call the attention of 
the House to the statute by which Parochial Churches were 
united with Cathedrals ; because the powers given by this 
statute has been very grossly abused. The provisions of that 
statute applied to Cathedral Churches, which were so in- 
commodiously situated that they could not be conveniently 
resorted to for divine service. This could not apply to the 
Cathedral of Tuam, because it was situated in die Town. 
The statute went on to state, that, M whereas many Cathe- 
dral Churches had been suffered to go to ruin and decay, 
&c." Now he (Sir John Newport) thought the dignitaries 
ought to be compelled to repair the Cathedrals out of the 
benefices, instead of throwing the burthen upon the parish. 
The statute, which manifestly did not apply to a Cathedral 
situated in a town, had been alledged as the ground for 
uniting the Cathedral with the parish church, and throwing 
the expence of repairing it upon the parish. By the provi- 
sions of the statute, a moiety of the expense was to come out 
of the economical fund of the Cathedral, and the other moiety 
was to be paid by the parish. — In defiance of these provisi- 
ons, however, the parish has been charged with the whole 
expense. The first item in the return from Tuam was di- 
rectly in defiance of the Act. It gave to the clerk, 20 
guineas, when the statute gave no more than £20. There 
were other items— for the parish register, 5 guineas ; for 
the vestry clerk, 10 guineas; and for the sexton, 10 gui- 
neas. But the most curious charge was the next : — for 
12 quarto prayer-books for the church, 12 guineas — for 
two bound in morocco for the communion, so much — for 
eight smaller ones, so much mose. There was scarcely a 
Protestant went into the church but had a prayer-book at 
the cost of the parish ! With respect to the collection of 
the assessment, a Roman Catholic gentleman had offered to 
collect it for £20. This proposal had been rejected, and 
it had been given to some one else at £30. The effect of 



118 



all this was, that the parish rate which had in the year 1812 
been 2 Id. in the in the pound, was now increased three 
times over — it was 7d. Then, could any man doubt that 
there was a necessity for controul over proceedings like these 
when four or five Protestants, the only people of that class 
in a parish, were taxing the whole parish in any way they 
pleased ? 

I shall trespass on the meeting with only one extract more ; 
but it is one of no insignificant magnitute : — 

" Parish of St. George, Dublin. — The original esti- 
mate for building the Church of St. George, Dublin, 
amounted to £ 16,000, This had been swelled to the enor- 
mous amount of £57,000. And as a great deal of this 
money had been borrowed, the payment of the interest still 
continued a burthen on the parish." 

This last is a pretty specimen of the devastation of pro- 
perty which the vestry system in Ireland could accomplish. 
With a debt of £50,000 bearing interest, placed as a first 
charge upon all the houses and lands of a parish — -what was 
the value to the proprietors of their estates ? It was, to be 
sure, a parish in an opulent city—but what of that. It was 
felt, and felt to this hour ; and families, who ought to be in 
opulence, are struggling, or perhaps starving, because the 
vestry has engrossed their property, or diminished its sale- 
able value one-half, or at least one-third. 

You perceive that Sir John Newport accused the Irish 
vestries of corruption, of profligate extortion, and of a daring 
violation of every law. He established these charges to the 
entire conviction of the House of Commons. He reduced 
the supporters of that system to total silence, and the ves- 
tries could not find a single advocate. Here they are pecu- 
lating, and plundering, and robbing. Yes, it was robbery I 
The poor were robbed to feed the sexton and fatten the 
organist — to replenish the cellar of the powerful vestry-man 
— and adorn the pew of the wealthy parish lordling. Yes, 
these men, who thus extorted, were the guardians of the 
land. I think I see them in holy horror punishing the vices 
of the lowly and the humble — transporting the pick-pocket 
— hanging the sheep-stealer — and then returning to their 
vestry — and there turning the chalice of their sacrament into 
a receptacle for pilfered property, and an instrument to 
extort the money of their poor Catholic neighbours. There 
is no Act of Parliament to make their crime felony ; but is 
it more or less culpable — is it less robbery in the eyes of 
morality and religion ? 

This was a frightful picture of the vestries of the Estab- 



119 



lished Church in Ireland — traced with her own hand — 
exhibited by her own returns. I again repeat it — if the 
base press of London — if the vile parasites who write for the 
Courier had such a topic as this to urge against the Catholic 
Clergy of France, what a yell of exultation and reproach 
would burst forth. What ! the most awful ceremonies and 
rites of religion made subservient to corrupt and profligate 
tortion ! ! ! But let it pass. It is a fact of a family ; and 
the sad story of Ireland's woes is full of many and many an 
illustration of the effects of that system which makes a po- 
litical religion the chief instrument for which and by which 
the State is ruled. Let me not be misunderstood — or rather 
let me not be misrepresented. My heart tells me, that 
I mean no disrespect to my Protestant countrymen. Some 
of my near relations — many of my most loved and va- 
lued friends are Protestants. I therefore cannot intend 
to insult Protestantism, when I refer to those facts ; 
but I call on every honest Protestant in the land to blush 
at this profanation of sacred things, by employing them 
us the tools of extortion— this converting of the house, 
which once was dedicated to God, into a den of rapacious 
thieves. 

The case being completely made out by Sir John New- 
port, it remained to apply the remedy. Leave was there- 
fore given by the unanimous vote of the House of Com- 
mons, to bring in a bill to abolish the abuses that had been 
exposed, and to guard the Catholics in future from a repe- 
tition of such exactions. Let it be borne in mind constant- 
ly, that the case was made out completely against the Irish 
vestries. No person even affected to doubt that they were, 
as Sir John Newport asserted, guilty of corrupt and profli- 
gate extortion, and of open and daring violation of all law. 
Of course each particular vestry was not guilty of these 
crimes — nor were all equally guilty. But this characteris- 
tic guilt was fixed on the vestry system in Ireland — cor- 
ruption, profligacy, extortion, and a daring violation of all 
law. The result of Sir John Newport's motion was, that 
he was allowed to bring in a bill. I happened to be in Lon- 
don at the time, and he honoured me by sending for roe to 
consult on the technical details which must be necessary to 
make an Act of Parliament effectual. He shewed me an 
English Act, respecting the vestry accounts, and asked me 
to convert the machinery of it, so as to suit it to the prac- 
tice of our Quarter Sessions. I took the Act, telling Sir 
John that I would go to my lodgings, and arrange two or 
three sections of an Act to suit his purpose. He, however, 



120 



good humouredly told me that I must draw them then, or 
not at all : because it should not be known that 1 had 
contributed to draw the Act while it was in progress, 
otherwise it might meet personal hostility. I recollected at 
once what Sir John alluded to — the puerile and ridiculous 
objections of Peel, to my drawing the draft of an emanci- 
pation bill. How a creature who could make such a 
childish point could be one of the statesmen of a nation, may 
be accounted for if that nation be in its dotage. No mat- 
ter. I yielded to the hint, and I remained in Sir John's 
rooms, until I drew the regular enactments to attain two 
objects — first, a power to restrain the amount of each paro- 
chial levy — secondly, a vigilant and rigid controul over its 
expenditure. I added to these a section to prevent Catholics 
from being forced to fill the office of Churchwarden. The 
rest of the bill was framed I cannot tell how, but it passed 
the House of Commons without opposition, and reached 
the Lords in a shape which, as far as I have learned, would 
have afforded at least a considerable alleviation of the grie- 
vances complained of and admitted to exist. 

To get rid of the liability to be churchwarden was in 
itself a great boon. The Catholics were placed by the law 
in a situation of great peril — not allowed in practice, if not 
prohibited by law, to vote in the choice of a churchwarden ; 
they were compelled to fill that office because it was then an 
office of great risk and responsibility. Whilst Catholics were 
compelled to be Churchwardens, they, (the Churchwardens) 
were made personally, and out of their own pockets, respon- 
sible for the non-collection of the Parish Rates, to the full 
amount of the parochial assessment. This measure of ini- 
quity was of course sanctioned, and indeed created by an 
Act of Parliament. The Act was the 3d George the Se- 
cond, cap. 18. — It enabled the successors of any Church- 
wardens to sue their predecessors for the full amount of the 
assessment of the foregoing year, unless collected. This at 
once suggested a species of parochial tyranny, unequalled in 
the annals of any other, save Irish bigotted tyranny. When- 
ever the vestry had occasion, or thought fit to make a large 
or heavy assessment, they uniformly selected two of the 
wealthiest Catholic farmers or gentlemen as Churchwardens. 
These persons were placed in this disagreeable predicament 
— if they did not collect the Cess they must pay out of their 
own pockets the full amount. If they did not collect it, 
all the odium of levying a burthensome, a hateful, an unne- 
cessary, and an oppressive rate from wretched Catholics, 
fell in the first instance on Catholics themselves. Oh ! ca- 



121 



lumniated Algerines ! Oh! slandered Moslems! You 
never invented so ingenious, so emaciating a system of do- 
mestic, village, and parish tyranny as the vile Orange 
faction, to whom England has so long flung this ill-fated 
country as a spoil, and for devastation. 

There appeared one glimpse of safety — one chance of 
escape. No man is, in point of Law, a Churchwarden, 
unless he takes the oath of office. That of course was an 
oath which no Catholic would take, and which no Court of 
Justice could possibly compel a Catholic to take. The 
Legislature felt the difficulty, and with a vicious ingenuity 
obviated it — for by the statute 24th Geo. 3, c, 49, the record 
of the election in the vestry book was made, after six weeks, 
conclusive evidence of the being Churchwarden, although 
the oath of office was never taken. But note and digest 
this distinction. The entry was evidence in all suits against 
the Churchwarden ; so much was certain. But it appears 
that he was left at common law in all suits brought by him 
as plaintiff ; that is, he shall prove his full qualifications, 
swearing and all, to sustain the character of plaintiff. Thus 
the Catholics were made responsible as Churchwardens, to 
all actions, and for all Church Rates, whilst they were left 
totally unprotected, because they could not qualify as 
Churchwardens to sue, though they could at once be sued. 
Did the Pagan Emperors of Rome — did the ferocious fol- 
lowers of Mahomet ever devise any scheme so cruelly, con- 
stantly, vexatiously, oppressive. 

There remained, however, one mitigation. Individual 
Protestants, nay, many, very many Protestants, were 
better than the laws. There were abundant and more cheer- 
ing instances of the Protestant successors in the office of 
Churchwarden refusing to prosecute their Catholic prede- 
cessors for the amount of Parish Rates, too oppressive or 
too unjust to be collected. Yes, in despite of clerical rapa- 
city, many, very many, Irish Protestants were found, who 
generously and nobly refused to be the oppressors of their 
Catholic neighbours, or to lend their names to suits against 
them, for not collecting the parish cess when it was too 
oppressive and odious. But the faction — Parliament again 
interfered. They suppressed, or rendered ineffectual, Pro- 
testant generosity and kindliness ; and they closed the door 
upon the Catholic Churchwarden against any possibility of 
escape. They passed the statute 21st and 22nd George III. 
cap. 52. By that Act, if Churchwardens neglected to col- 
lect the Parish Rates and that their successors neglected for 
six months to sue them, in that case the Bishop was empow- 
M 



122 



ered to sue the successors, and to compel them to pay 
the Church Rates of the former year out of their own pro- 
perty. 

My indignation boils too strongly at this perfection of le- 
galized tyranny — I cannot proceed. This capped the cli- 
max of iniquity. But I turn from it. After six months — 
oh, aye— the Bishop, good man, had full time to coax and 
threaten before he shewed himself in the broad day. Well, 
well, I hope aud trust, and belive, that in no other coun- 
try was man ever so treated as in Ireland, as in wretched 
Ireland. 

To return to Sir John Newport's Act — It passed the 
House of Commons without opposition, and the House of 
Lords without public notice. Every one supposed that 
some palliation at least, would be afforded. But the Act 
did not escape the lynx eye of the Chancellor. This man 
hates the unfortunate Irish too much to consent to any thing 
to their advantage. " A bloody spouse thou art to me/' said 
Sephora, in the holy word. I know not how, but the 
scripture phrase strikes to my mind whenever I see or think 
of Lord Eldon. — He is the great, the permanent foe of our 
name and nation. It is a source of pleasure or of sorrow 
that he exhibits a visage such as never before disfigured a 
creature having an immortal soul. His hate to us appears to 
be, and it need not be greater, in the inverse ratio of his 
love of power and of money. He accordingly quietly struck 
out nine-tenths of Sir John Newport's bill. That is, he 
struck out all the valuable and efficient clauses, and left in 
nothing but what turned the statute into ludicrous skeleton 
— the very absurdity of legislation. This paltry trick natu- 
rally irritated Sir John. I may, by way of parenthesis, say, 
that all my clauses were struck, save that which exempted 
Catholics from being Churchwardens. The subject could 
not remain in that state. The honest and venerable Newport 
has lost the fire of youth, but in his age he retains the stea- 
dy glow of continued patriotism. He brought the matter 
again before the House of Commons. It was on the 16th 
of February last, that he again appealed to the House of 
Commons on the subject. He spoke with some asperity of 
the paltry dexterity with which a measure that could not 
with decency be publicly opposed, was got rid of. He 
reminded the House of the mass of evidence which con- 
victed the Irish vestries of every species of corruption and 
profligacy ; and he added a few new instances of the total 
disregard to justice, or even decency, which the vestry re- 
turns before the House is presented. It is my object to de- 



123 



monstrate the total unfitness of the vestries for the guardian- 
ship of our properties, and therefore, at the risk of being 
exceedingly tedious, I will mention some of the fresh 
instances of abuse with which the vestry assessments teemed. 
He began with that multitudinous job of jobs— the Bible 
Society. Take this small specimen : — 

f * Raphoe. — There were people anxious to promote the 
Hibernian Bible Society; and in Raphoe they voted £\0 
for this purpose. And this, be it remembered, was to come 
out of the pockets of the Catholic peasantry, for the 
use of a Society avowedly established to make proselytes to 
the Protestant faith. 

The next is a bird of another colour. It shews that 
nothing could escape the minute as well as the majestic 
spirit of vestry speculation. They were too great saints to 
strain at the gnat although they swallowed the camel. 

"Bishop. — In one place, and he regretted the circum- 
stance, because it reflected on high dignitaries of the Church, 
a tax was made to repair the Bishop's throne, to provide a 
clothes-horse for his closet, and brushes, ewers, basins, &c, 
and, indeed, every species of article for the toilette of a 
finished gentleman." (A laugh.) 

A finished gentleman ! Aye, a finished gentleman, in 
good truth. I wish I had seen him on a visit to the female 
saints of his diocese. His white teeth shining with parish 
tooth-powder. His cambric handkerchief scented with 
parish perfume. His polished half military boots glistening 
with the best Day and Martin's blacking, bought at the 
parish expence. His black coat glittering from the parish 
brush, and his ambrosial wig redolent of parish pomatum — 
looking as much like a coxcomb, and as little like a successor 
to St. Paul, as imagination can conceive. Oh, blessed Refor- 
matiou, these are of thy creation ! Let him, however, pass; 
he, probably, is one of the poorer class of Irish Bishops, not 
having above eight or ten thousand a year; poor man — 
really the parish could not sacrifice enough to him. From 
the lordly and proud Bishop, let us, with Sir John, descend 
to the humble and acrimonious Curate. The vestry could 
not overlook him. 

" Curate — In another parish in Dublin, a sum of one 
hundred guineas was voted out of the rates, to purchase a 
piece of plate for the Curate." 

From the Curate, Sir John goes lower still, but the same 
unremitting extortion attends him as he goes. I am, how- 
ever, sorry he does not tell us to what parish the silvered 
Curate belonged. 
M 2 



1U 



"Clerk — Fifty pounds were also voted to the parish 
Clerk, and the same to the vestry Clerk, which was more 
than double the amount authorised by law." 

Double the amount allowed by law — to be sure it w 7 as. 
What did they care for law ; and yet was it not plain, 
undisguised, unsophisticated robbery ? What is the diffe- 
rence between stealing the plate out of your pantry, or the 
books out of my library, and stealing my money, in the 
shape of a Parish Cess ? But if I do not restrain my indig- 
nation, I never can have done. The next instance mentioned 
by Sir John Newport, in his speech in February last, I 
mean in the year 1826, was that of the Organist. 

" Organist — In one parish, in the course of ten years, 
the Organist received more than £850, and the Bellows- 
blower was also a pensioner ; he had £15 a year ; and there 
was a Vestry-maid at £20, besides three Servants to attend 
the Church." 

One note upon the organist ; his salary was illegal, the 
Bellows-blower's pension was illegal, the fair Vestry-maid 
had an illegal stipend, and the three Church Servants were 
all violations of the law. Let them console themselves. I 
will presently shew that these salaries will in future be 
perfectly legal. The Act of last Sessions has cured all 
defects. Let me, however, not anticipate. I will read but 
two extracts more from Sir John's second speech. I select 
the following passage, as being very characteristic :— 

"Church — In one of the returns there was a remarkable 
nola bene, which he would read to the House. It was this— 
Nota bene. No access to the church or church-yard, for man 
or horse, but by climbing over two or three walls. From 
this it appeared that access to the church was not considered 
at all material ; so the money was levied, the only object in 
view was attained." 

The levying of the money certainly was the great object. 
I conclude with the following item : 

te Singing — In many instances palpaple modes were taken 
to evade the law which limited the amount of salary to the 
clerk. He was first paid for his clerkship £20, then they 
gave him 20 guineas for singing, 30 guineas for instructing 
the boys, 20 guineas more for teaching the girls, and 20 
guineas more for extra services (a laugh) ; so that the salary 
was raised to £ 120 and £140 a year." 

Sir John Newport arraigned all these charges as being 
grossly illegal. They clearly were so. He accused the 
vestries of the profligate robbery of the people. It was not 
denied ; and he concluded his speech on the l6th of Febru- 



125 



ary, 18^6, by the following motion, which was seconded by 
Lord Althorpe. It is important to bear in mind every word 
of it, as it appears on the Journals of the House of Com- 
mons : 

" That from the detailed return of parochial assessments 
imposed during ten years past in Ireland, as laid before the 
House, it appears that large sums of money are annually 
levied for the purposes, in many instances, not warranted by 
law, and for paying salaries to officers at rates exceeding the 
limits prescribed by statuary regulation. That these and 
other considerable abuses appear to prevail in the imposition 
and application of such parochial assessments, in conse- 
quence of the absolute want of adequate controul to secure 
their limitation within proper bounds, and their appropri- 
ation to definite and legitimate objects. That it becomes 
the duty of the Legislature to make efficacious provision for 
the easy attainment of such controul, and against the recur- 
rence of such abuses, particularly as a large proportion of 
the persons who are subjected to payment of these parochial 
levies, are at present by law excluded from voting in ves- 
tries held for the imposition of many of these assessments.' , 

The great value of this proposed resolution, is, that not 
one word of it was denied. Mr. Goulburn made a speech in 
reply. Mr. Plunkett spoke in reply. Did Goulburn deny 
its assertions ? Not one syllable of them. Did Mr. Plun- 
kett contradict the statements? Not one word of them. 
Let it now, once for all, be recollected, that thus twice, in 
the face of the House of Commons — thus twice in the pre- 
sence of the British empire, there was recorded the convic- 
tion of Irish vestries, of the complicated guilt of corruption, 
profligacy, extortion, and the setting all law and justice at 
defiance. The conduct of Mr. Goulburn and Mr. Plunkett 
was singularly curious on this occasion ; they admitted the 
delinquency of the vestries — they promised redress. I am 
truly sorry to be obliged to state the part Mr. Plunkett, in 
particular, took on this occasion. He admitted that the 
proceedings of the vestries had been illegal ; and he pro- 
mised that they should not continue so. It was apparently 
a candid promise ; allow me to believe that it was made in 
the spirit of candour. But if it had been made in wicked 
mockery and treacherous delusion, it would not more effec- 
tually have answered the purpose. He has, indeed, like the 
evil spirit in the play, kept the word of that promise to the 
ear, but he has broken it to the sense. Such proceedings 
are no longer illegal. He has contrived this Act that it 
should legalise them all. No vestry now can be so absurd 

M x 



126 



or so ingenious as to make an illegal assessment. The mode 
in which the thing was arranged was this — Goulburn and 
Mr. Plunkett admitted the necessity of redress, and the truth 
of Sir John's proposition ; but they said, and said truly, that 
a mere resolution of the House was useless ; that relief could 
only be given, and they promised it should be given, by a 
Bill. They therefore moved, by way of amendment, that 
all Sir John's motion, except the first word, " that/' should 
be left out, and that there should be substituted, in the 
stead, these words — " leave be given to bring in a Bill to 
consolidate and amend the laws which regulate the levy and 
application of Church Rates in Ireland." The amendment 
was, of course, carried. Indeed the enemies of vestry pecu- 
lation did not oppose it ; on the contrary, they were fully 
confident that there was an honest and sincere determination, 
at least on the part of Mr. Plunkett, to redress grievances of 
so oppressive as well as manifest a nature. Sorry am I to 
say — bitterly do I regret to be obliged to say — that such 
confidence has been most grossly violated. A Committee 
was formed to bring in the Bill, The names are inauspici- 
ous ; for, in addition to Mr. Plunkett, there were Goulburn, 
Sir George Hill, and the Attorney- General and Solicitor- 
General of England. Of these, three are the bitter and 
unrelenting enemies of Catholic Ireland. The Bill they 
framed passed both Houses almost in silence. One or two 
amendments, proposed by those excellent men, Spring Rice 
and James G rattan, not at all affecting the details of the Bill, 
were all that was known of it in Ireland. It w T as printed 
and passed the House of Commons, whilst the Lawyers of 
the Catholic body were on Circuit ; and I for one imagined 
that there was some useful measure in agitation. I did not 
expect any extensive relief ; but the system was so very bad 
that I expected something would be done to ameliorate it. 
The Bill thus crept through both Houses unnoticed and 
literally unknown ; and it was on the Statute book for some 
time before one of the casualties of profession drew my atten- 
tion to it. 1 then, for the first time, discovered (it is scarcely 
a week) that this Bill is a cruel aggravation of all the former 
abuses ; that it legalizes them all, and adds tenfold to their 
w eight. It gives to the vestries a power which, if it shall be 
continued, will render the property of every landholder in 
Ireland of little value, and leave the lands of the Catholics 
completely at the mercy of the Protestants. 

It is with heartfelt sorrow that I am compelled to connect 
Mr. Plunket with this Bill. I hope it was the act of those 
ill-sorted colleagues with whom it is his fortune to act in 



127 



the present patched and piebald administration This 
wretched compound of the two principles of the Manicheans: 
— the good sometimes predominating, but the bad almost 
always the lord of the ascendant. In this, indeed, the evil 

stands pre-eminent. Am I wrong in expressing regret 

sincere regret, that with this evil, Mr. Plunkett is closely, 
intimately mixed ? I cannot help it. Of course, my inter- 
course with him, as a public man, has long since ceased. 
But I cannot, and will not forget how much the unaffected 
simplicity of his manner — how much the cordial kindness 
of his disposition — how much a natural appearance of love 
of right and justice, which accompany him in private life;, 
are calculated to facinate those who happen to enjoy an in- 
timacy with him, even for a short time. It was my fortune 
to have known him in that way, and the impression made 
on me will never vanish. But it is my duty to arraign him 
as a public man ; and now I hold up the Act of Parliament, 
and I charge him with having promoted and patronised, if 
he did not draw up, a statute which, in its tendencv as well 
as its direct operation, is the most injurious to Catholic in- 
terests, and the most destructive to Catholic property, of 
any Act that passed since the commencement of the penal 
code, and since the first base violation of the Treaty of 
Limerick. It is my business now to prove those charges. 
It is my duty to do so; because, by so doing, 1 will, I trust, 
rouse all that is rational and honest in Ireland to call upon 
Parliament to repeal this monstrous piece of Legislation. 

This Act came into effect on the first of January, 1827. 

On that day, every thing that was prominent in the arrange- 
ments of parish vestries and parochial levies ceased, and this, 
a new law, commenced its operation. I will now point out 
its principal provisions. It begins by totally excluding the 
Catholics from the vestries on all matters of business. The 
law hitherto excluded us from some vestries only, although 
by management we were excluded from most — but the 
Catholics were beginning to know their rights, and to as- 
sert them boldly. This Act put an end to those rights for 
?ver. I have analyzed its second section, and I find by it 
that Catholics are excluded from parish vestries on all sub- 
jects respecting or relating to any of the following topics: — 
'or all of which, observe, power is given by this Act, to the 
vestries to levy money — viz : — 

1st. As to the building of Churches. 

2d. f As the rebuilding of Churches ' 

3d. As to the building of Protestant Chapels. 

4th. As to the rebuilding of Protestant Chapels. 



128 



5th. As the enlarging of Churches. 

6th. As to the enlarging of Protestant Chapek. 

7th. c As to the repairing of Churches. 

Mth. As to the repairing of Protestant Chapels. 

9th. As to the election of Church -wardens. 

10th, As to the election of Chapel- wardens. 

11th. As to the setting of the salary for the maintenance 
of the Parish Clerk. 

12th. As to the setting of the salary for the maintenance 
of the Sexton. 

13th. As to the setting of the salary for the maintenance 
of the Clerk of any Protestant Chapel,, or Chapel of Ease. 

1 4th, As to the letting or demising of any estate belonging 
to the Parish. 

15th. As to the disposal of the income of any estate belong- 
ing to the Parish. 

1 6th. As to the letting or demising of any estate belong- 
ing to any Church, or Protestant Chapel. 

17th. As to the disposal of the Income of any estate be- 
longing to any Church or Protestant Chapel. 

18th. As to the providing things necessary for the ce^ 
lebration of divine service in any Church, as required and 
authorised by any rubric or cannon in force in England or 
Ireland. 

19th. As to the providing things necessary for the ce- 
lebration of divine service in any Protestant Chapel, as re- 
quired and authorised by any rubric or canon in force in 
England or Ireland. 

20th. As to the making any to defray the expences of 
building any Church. 

2 1 st. As to the making any rate to defray the expence of 
building any Protestant Chapel. 

22d. As to the making any rate to defray the expence of 
rebuilding any Church. 

23d. As to the making any rate to defray the expence of 
rebuilding any Protestant Chapel. 

24th. As to the making any rate to defray the expence of 
enlarging any Church. 

25th. As to the making any rate to defray the expence of 
enlarging any Protestant Chapel. 

26th. As to the making any rate to defray the expence of 
repairing any Church. 

27th. As to the making any rate to defray the expence of 
repairing any Protestant Chapel. 

28th. As TO MAKING THE RATE TO DEFRAY THE EXPENCE 
OF OTHER NECESSARY CHARGES, OR ANY OF THEM. 



129 



It is literally ' do omnibus rebus — et quibusdam aliis." We 
are thus excluded from vestries where all things, or any of 
them, are to be agitated. It is important to remark, that 
there were, at the utmost, but five of these topics from 
voting on which the Catholics were excluded before this 
Act. These were the above Nos. 2d, 7th, 9th, 14th, and 
1 5th, To these five exclusions — if even the entire five sub- 
sisted — to these five exclusions this statute has added no less 
than twenty-three additional ; and amongst these some are 
of the most sweeping and most comprehensive nature ; and 
we are now excluded from voting on all subjects respecting, 
or in any way relating, to these several heads of business. 
Is it not manifest that they include all the business of parish 
vestries? — and more, infinitely more business than any pa- 
rish vestry could legally do before the passing of this Act 
—but now, by this Act, the Protestant parishioners can do 
just what they please. Here is, indeed, a penal law against 
the Catholics— a penal law of the most afflicting nature, 
because it deprives them of all controul over the expenditure 
of the money raised by such taxation. This is, indeed, a 
grievance of the first magnitude. It is spoliation of the most 
direct description ! 

To this grievous injury insult is superadded, becanse 
the 3d section gravely enacts, that on all other occasions, 
save those I have above specified, it shall be lawful for Ca- 
tholics to vote at vestries. That is, by this express enact- 
ment, Catholics are turned out of the vestries upon all trans- 
actions of business — and then, truly, there is a clause in 
this statute, to enable them to attend on all other occasions 
—in other words, they may attend when there is nothing to 
do. But I will tell the bigotted framers of the third section 
of this statute — for it must have been framed by some of 
the bigotted colleagues of Mr. Plunkett, who are working 
their way to the bench, and to decide impartially on our 
lives and fortunes, by exhibiting their unrelenting and in- 
terested hostility to us — I tell these miserable bigots who 
framed this third section, that they were grossly ignorant 
of the law. I tell them that this section proves their ig- 
norance, because at common law, and by common right, 
every inhabitant of a parish liable to the parish rates, is en- 
titled to attend and vote at vestries. That is the common 
law right, and continues, unless taken away hy positive en- 
actment. It follows that the third section, purporting to 
empower Catholics to attend vestries on occasions not ex- 
pressly prohibited, is nonsensical in itself, and a proof of 
gross ignorance in those who framed it. 



130 



The next reflection which this statute affords is one of in- 
finitely more importance. It is, indeed, of vital import- 
ance. The second section of the statute does, as we have 
seen, exclude the Catholics from voting at vestries upon all 
matters relating to the different heads I have enumerated. 
This is its direct operation. But its indireet effect is still 
more powerful, because it is a legislative declara- 
tion, THAT ALL THOSE ENUMERATED HEADS OF EXPEN- 

dituru are legal. It, therefore, directly sanctions, and 
in fact empowers the Protestants at vestries, to levy money 
for all those purposes. Every thing above specified — that 
is, every imaginable purpose of expenditure, is thus recog- 
nised and legalised. I now defy any lawyer to define the 
limits of the powers of the Protestant vestries to impose 
taxation. I say it advisedly and deliberately, and I am 
ready to pledge whatever reputation I may have as a law- 
yer, that the power of the Protestants in vestry, to levy 
rates on the entire parish or union, as the case may be, is 
by this act, rendered unlimited, and impossible to be de- 
lined. 

Let this, however, not rest on my authority, and I 
come to particulars. I will take up the first item and cou- 
ple it with the last. The Protestants in vestry are autho- 
rised to levy sufficient money to build churches or Protest- 
ant chapels, and for all the necessary charges relating 
thereto. You cannot build a church without having the 
land to build it on — that is of prime necessity. Well, at 
once goes a levy for that necessary charge, the purchase 
money of the land. But land should not be purchased 
without getting a good title to it. Well, to acertain the ti- 
tle there are abstracts and statements and copies of deeds, 
perhaps of decrees and pleadings, searches in the registry, 
and for incumbrances, An attorney, of course, and coun- 
sel, are all necessary. These are all expensive articles ; 
another necessary charge on the parish. We will now sup- 
pose that the land is purchased ; the purchase money paid ; 
the attorney's bill of cost discharged by the parish ; is the 
church to be built without further previous expense ? By 
no means. Nothing can be more necessary than plans, sec- 
tions and estimates. The ingenuity of the architects is set 
to work ; and their beautiful drawings, and their detailed 
calculations must all be paid for by the parish — and then 
before one stone of the new church is laid, hundreds, nay 
thousands of pounds may be expended at the desire of the 
few Protestants, but at the expence of the many Catholics, 
Next would come the expence of actually building the church ; 



131 



and next of finishing its interior, and adding its beils and 
ornaments. See how easy it is for a vestry, like that of St. 
George, in Dublin, to swell the expenditure, or the ratio, 
which they did, from £ 15,000 to £57,000. Let it not be 
forgotten, that the owner of the land to be sold may be one 
of the vestry— that the attorney to make out the title may 
be one of the vestry — and the counsel to advise, and the 
architect to draw the plans, and the masons to build, and 
the carpenter for the timber work, and the painter to paint, 
and the glazier to glaze ; in short, the vestry may well be 
composed of those alone who are to receive the monies when 
expended, and to receive it in large sums. They may con- 
stitute the entire vestry, while those who are to pay 99 parts 
out of 100 are excluded. 

To elucidate still further the power of taxation given to 
the vestries by this statute, let us refer to the power of ves- 
tries to assess the parishes to any amount, to provide any 
thing necessary for the celebration of Divine worship, as 
authorised by any canon or rubric in force in England, or 
in Ireland. It is impossible that any thing can be more 
comprehensive and distinct than that power is — and yet, as if 
it were not sufficiently so, there is the 28th head, which 
enables the vestries to assess for all other charges, or any of 
them ! ! ! I will, however, consider the 18th head on its 
own intrinsic power. You perceive that by the 1 8th head 
the vestry can assess for every thing necessary for divine ser- 
vice, as authorized by any canon or rubric ! Now, suppose 
I were consulted to-morrow, as I have often been, upon a 
vestry assessment, to know if there were any illegal charges 
in it— (let me here observe by way of parenthesis, that 
hitherto, I never saw a vestry assessment that did not con- 
tain some illegal charge,) But to return— suppose a Counsel 
consulted under this Act as to the legality of a parish assess- 
ment—what would be his first duty? It would be to make 
himself master of all the canons in England and in Ireland, 
which relate to celebration of divine worship in all its 
branches, both on Sundays, and week-days, and in the ad- 
ministration of the sacraments. They are of course all 
included in divine worship, which, observe, is not limited 
here to the public celebration alone — but is general, includ - 
ing private as well as public celebration of divine worship. 
This would be a pretty extensive task. All the canons 
which were framed before the Reformation are still in force* 
unless where they are expressly repugnant to the Protestai,. 
religion. There are besides canons framed since the Refor- 
mation. Every thing authorised by either the Catholic or 



132 



Protestant canons that can be applicable to the Protestant 
worship, is now the subject of assessment. The lawyer 
therefore, before he gives his opinion that any assessment is 
illegal, must make himself master of all the canons, both 
before and since the Reformation, which relate in any way to 
divine worship. So must any court of justice, before it is 
empowered to alleviate the burthen imposed by any vestry, 
on any parish. And after becoming master of the English 
canons, the next thing to be done is to learn in a similar 
manner all the Irish canons. The English canons are tole- 
rably numerous. — They fill several volumes. The Irish 
canons are still more so. By the discipline of the Irish 
church, there were two annual synods held ; one every half 
year. I, of course, allude to the Catholic times. The 
canons enacted at these synods are exceedingly numerous. 
There are some of them to be found in Spelman, and in Sir 
James Ware ; but the far greater number could be found 
only by referring to the ponderous folios of the foreign bene- 
dictines, such as D' Archery, Martene, and Durand. What 
lawyer or judge could possibly ransack them all; and still 
no lawyer or judge can possibly say, that a vestry assess- 
ment is illegal under this new act, if there be any thing to 
justify that assessment in any of those canons, English or 
Irish. But it is not sufficient to study the English and Irish 
canons. One must go infinitely farther — from the " corpus 
juris canonici " down to the reformation — that is, all the 
canons of the Universal or Catholic church down to the 
reformation, must all be referred to on the copious subject 
of divine worship. Here is a task indeed ! There are, to 
place them in their natural order : 

1st. All the canons of the Catholic Church down to the 
Reformation, as applicable to then universal celebration of 
divine worship. 

2d. There are the local canons in England to the same 
period, 

3d. The English canons since the Reformation. 
4th. The Irish canons before the Reformation. 
5th. The Irish canons since the Reformation. 

But what is most important, is the reason why it is 
incumbent on Irish judges or lawyers to examine all these 
canons. Let me repeat the appalling reason — because any 
thing authorised and required by any of them is now, by 
this Act, by this sweeping and grinding Act, a lawful object 
of vestry taxation. Observe here, I implore you, that 



133 



although this Act is an Irish Act, relating only to Irish 
Parishes, yet it gives this power of taxation, not only as to 
matters contained in the canons of force in Ireland, but it 
extends to every thing relative to divine worship contained 
in any canon of force in England ! ! ! One would have 
imagined that it would have been sufficient to tax us accord- 
ing to the Irish canon law, as this was an Irish Act ; but no 
—something more may, and, of course must be gleaned 
from the English canons ; and therefore this additional 
source of taxation is opened to our vestries. 

Perhaps it may be imagined that we have now arrived at 
the limit of the power of vestry taxation. Perhaps it may 
be supposed that this multitudinous code of canon lav/ con- 
tains the limits, if any man could trace them, of this power. 
Sir, he who so imagines is grievously mistaken. This is 
scarcely the beginning of the taxing powers of vestries, un- 
der this new Act. That power really resembles eternity— 
nothing else. It is, under this new Act, always beginning 
—never, never, never to end. I do not exaggerate. I 
speak literally the truth. The vestry is commissioned not 
only to tax according to any canon in force in England or in 
Ireland, but also to tax for any thing authorised and required 
for divine service, by any rubric in force in England or in 
Ireland. 

Rubric ! Rubric ! What is a rubric ? This is the first 
question I asked myself when I read this Act of Parliament. 
I perceived, that under this Act, it is something which, 
whether it existed in England or in Ireland, gives power to 
a Protestant vestry to tax all the Catholic occupiers of lands 
and houses. What that something was and is I confess I was 
totally ignorant. I accordingly had recourse to my law 
books. It is now matter of law, affecting property to an 
enormous amount. But I could not find one word about it 
in the books of law of ordinary reference, or in the Luw 
Dictionary. I then turned to the index to the Statutes, I 
hunted the letter R till I found " rubbish," but nGt the least 
mention of rubric. I was literally like a hound at fault. I 
knew not where to strike off the legal scent of rubric ; yet 
how could I advise my clients in any parish in Ireland, as to 
the legality of any Parish Assessment, without knowing 
exactly what a rubric was. I turned to Johnson's Dicti- 
onary, and there I found the following description of a 
rubric : — 

'•'Rubrick. n. s. ( rubrique Fr. rubrica Lat.)— Directions 
printed in books of law and in prayer books ; so termed, be- 
cause they were originally distinguished by being in red ink.' 
N 



134 



Johnson illustrates its meaning by the following quota- 
tion : — 

" They had their particular prayers, according to the 
several days and months, and their tables and rubrics to in- 
struct them/' Stillingfleet. 

f< The rubrics, and the rules relating to the liturgy, 
are established by royal authority, as well as the liturgy 
itself." Nelson. 

So — so — sc. Here is a pretty extent of power of taxation. 
Any money which may be required by any Royal direction. 
Even the red ink is no longer necessary. Any thing that 
the head of the Protestant Church — the King — that is, in 
other words, the Minister of the day, has chosen or may 
chuse, is or can be a rubric. I saw the other day, an epis- 
copal ordinance directed from the King, as visible head, 
under God, of the Established Church, addressed to the 
Archbishops and Bishops of that Church, and signed, 
" Robert Peel/' I confess it did strike me as something 
worse than ludicrous to have ecclesiastical mandates signed 
(i Robert Peel." To a mind turned towards the awfulness 
of Christianity, there is something abhorrent in joining 
Robert Peel and religion. This may be a prejudice. How- 
ever, one thing is certain, that Robert Peel or Goulburn 
may, in one hour, issue as many rubrics as would fill a 
volume, without any one Catholic knowing or having the 
power to discover what they were. I say this with confi- 
dence, because, seeing by this statute how enormously the 
property of the Catholics might be taxed by Protestant 
vestries, either under the pretence or by reason of the exist- 
ence of rubrics, I felt it my duty to add the existing 
rubrics of the Established Church to my law library. I 
accordingly waited on Mr. Milliken, who is bookseller to the 
University, and in fact to the Irish Church. I asked that 
intelligent and respectable person for the rubrics of the 
Established Church. Pie said he had no book of that 
description. I begged to be told how I could procure 
them. He said he knew not, unless they w r ere to be found 
in the Book of Common Prayer. I immediately called for 
that Book, that I might, if it contained the rubrics, add the 
Book of Common Prayer to my law library. But upon 
turning over the book, I found that it gave but little and 
very scanty information on the subject. This, then, was 
the result of my researches on the rubrics. 

But what is the result as to the power of Protestant ves- 
tries to tax the Catholic population ? Why, that it is unli- 
mited, undefined, undiscoverable. No research will enable 



135 



any man to find out its bounds. No ingenuity can trace its 
limits. Such I unhesitatingly say is the power given by 
this Act to the Protestant vestries. We are surrounded 
with those, who, like Mr. Sergeant Blackburn, are Church 
and State lawyers. I challenge them, one and all, to define 
or describe the limits of the present power of Protestant 
vestries, to tax Catholic property, unless, indeed, they shall 
do it by this one sentence. " The power of the Protestant 
vestries to tax the Catholics is limited by the value of the 
property of the Catholics to be taxed, because they cannot 
take more than the entire," 

True, quite true, they cannot take more than the entire ; 
but that entire they are by law empowered to take ; and no 
lawyer can be of any avail to protect that property ; because, 
although several years of close application may make a 
lawyer master of the Canon law, on all points respecting 
Divine Service, yet, it is impossible for any lawyer to say 
that he knows all the Rubrics. If they were collected this 
day, they may be altered to-morrow. Nay, a Rubric may 
be got up in half an hour to suit any possible purpose. Let 
it be noted too — for this Act is apiece of devilish perfection 
on all that is bad — let it be noted, that the Irish vestry may 
tax, not only according to any Rubric in force in Ireland, 
but also, according to any Rubric not in force in Ireland, if 
it happen to be. in force in England. 

Having thus shewn that Catholics are excluded by this 
Act from voting at all at vestries, and that the power of tax- 
ation given to the Protestant is unlimited, it seems an idle 
waste of time to go into detail or particulars ; but I deem it 
my duty to state, that all the illegal charges pointed out by 
Sir John Newport, are legalised by the Act. For example — 
it appears by the Parliamentary Returns which I read, that 
the organist in one parish had received the enormous sum of 
£850. That, at the time, was an enormous robbery. It 
would, under this Act, be perfectly legal. The organist 
may now look to a salary in every parish. The tuner and 
bellows-blower are necessary, wherever there is an organ. 
The organ itself, in its first cost, will be a tolerably, or rather, 
an intolerably large burthen ; its expense will be an annual 
source of taxation. Music-books are necessary where there 
is an organ. The Protestant young ladies of the parish may 
have their music cheap, at the expense of the parishioners. 
Singing-bo} r s and singing-girls will adorn every church 
where they can be mustered. There must, of course, be 
salaries for those who teach them to sing. All those ex- 
penses, though hitherto grossly illegal, and criminal, with 
N 2 



136 

respect to the Catholic payers, were yet inflicted wherever 
they could be so with impunity. In future they can be all 
provided for legally, by the simple process of a vestry tax. 
One cannot know what expense is not included in the 
Canons and Rubrics ; but that all those are included in 
them, or some of them, is quite certain. Any lawyer who 
doubts this, may look to the case of Hutchins v. Denziloe, 
reported in Haggard's Consistory Cases, vol. I., page 170. 
Let any man look to pages 177 and 178 of that report, and 
he will easily conjecture the extent to which music and 
singing were authorised and required by the ancient canons 
and by the Protestant rubrics. After that inspection, every 
lawyer will agree with me as to the present power of the 
vestries on these subjects. 

I cannot help remarking, that there has been for many 
years, in Dublin, a familiar head of illegal assessment, — 
There was much ingenuity in the way in which it was le- 
vied, without apprising the payers of the nature of the ad- 
ditional rate. 1, for one, say, that the Protestant clergy- 
men, when they took my money without explanation, as an 
additional rate, obtained my money dishonestly, and under 
a false pretence— I throw it on their consciences, if, unlike 
Paley, they can afford to keep a conscience. But to the 
point. This illegal charge consisted in votes of vestries for 
large sums to the curates, for morning and evening lectures 
and other services in the celebration of divine worship,-— 
Let those curates be consoled. These charges are no longer 
illegal. This Act empowers the vestries to lay on such 
charges thick and tenfold. Let, however, the inhabitants 
of Dublin look to it. The Protestants may, it is true, pro- 
tect themselves— but the Catholics are deprived (Mr. Plun- 
kett, with his bright-eyed aide-de-camp, Goulburn, has 
deprived the Catholics) of all power of protecting them- 
selves. 

Another source of taxation, hitherto illegal, has been no- 
ticed in the Parliamentary Returns, I mean pew openers, 
gallery sextons, vestry maids, and church servants. The 
salaries for all these were hitherto illegal. They are now 
perfectly legal. The canons of the Catholic Church allow- 
ed and required several classes of servitors in the church. 
The sexton is no longer the bearer of the holy water, but 
he is no less substantially the pensioner of the parish. — 
There were in Catholic times somewhat about ten or twelve 
different servitors or inferior assistants, in the church. All 
these classes may now legally be revived— all the salaries 
mentioned in the returns may be assessed, and if a canon 



were wanting to give them authority, a rubric could easily 
be found or made, to render them perfectly valid. 

Let me just notice the charge for coffins. In Dublin, 
some of the honest folks engaged in vestry peculation, used 
to make charges scandalously large for this illegal exaction. 
No less a sum than £70. has been charged in a single assess- 
ment under the fantastic head of ' ' miscellaneous for coffins, 
£70." This was heretofore as unlawful as it was frau- 
dulent. That time, however, has gone by. Goulburn 
has clung to his coffins, and accordingly the 10th section 
of this statute legalises for the future " the coffin miscel- 
lany." 

Thus wholesale and in detail, all manner of assessment 
is legalized. The powers of the vestry are most enormously 
encreased — the exclusion of the Catholics is most enor- 
mously encreased. Formerly Catholics were excluded by 
law from voting in only a few instances— now they are ex- 
cluded in all. Formerly the legal exclusion, even in the 
excepted cases, was merely partial — now it is general — is 
universal. For example— formerly Catholics were excluded 
from voting when the question was, whether a church 
should be repaired or not ? but that question once decided, 
the Catholics had, in point of law, a right to vote as to the 
assessment to be made for such repair. It is quite a differ- 
ent question, whether or not a church should be repaired at 
all, from the question, what sum should be expended in 
such repair ? The second question could not arise till the 
first was decided. Upon the first the Catholics have, since 
the reign of George the Second, been excluded from voting. 
On the other question, a very important one, they had, 
until this Act passed, the right to vote. Thus this Act has 
enormously encreased our burthens, and the Protestant 
power over our properties, whilst it has altogether abridged 
our legal rights, even for the common and ordinary objects 
of protecting our property. The Catholic, under this Act, 
is in the state of a man who has his hands pinioned behind 
his back, his pockets unbuttoned, and is simply surrounded 
by pickpockets. It is very material to observe also, that 
•ee and unlimited power to pick our pockets is given 
to the comparatively few in number. A parish vestry is, at 
common law, a meeting oil all the occupiers of lands or 
houses in the parish — that "v\as the vestry in Catholic times. 
Every man and every woman too, having property in the 
parish, was entitled to attend the vestry. Such are the 
rights which the Protestants, as well as the Catholics, de- 
rived from our Catholic ancestors, the common ancestors of 
N 3 



138 



both. These rights are, by this Act, taken from us, Ca- 
tholics, and given to the few Protestants. It is important 
to see Aow few they are to whom this power is given. It is 
important to see how numerous are those over whom that 
power is given. I select from the census furnished by the 
Catholic Clergy, the following specimen : — 

Parishes. Catholics. Not Catholics. Diocesses. 



Ferreter, Dunquin, 1 
&c. J 

Kellgany, &c. 
Kilcrohan 
Dromtariff 
Listowell 

Union of Kilconne-O 

ran J 
Loughmore and \ 

Castlelay J 
Kilcummin and 1 

Holiyford J 
Clonoulty and Ross- 1 

more J 
Pallis Green and \ 

T. Bredan J 
Kilteely 

Union of Doneraile 
Kildorerry 
Union of Killeagh 
Greenah 
Belanagare and 

Union 
Ballintubber 
Killyan and KilroO 

nan J 
Drum 

Ogala, Kilcooly and 1 
Killucker J 
Kilglase 
Caltra 

Tarmonbarry 
Union of Bumlin, 1 
&c. J 
Athleague 

Oranmore and Bal- 1 
linacourty J 



} 



7270 18 Ardfert & Aghado. 

4568 118 Do. 

3883 c z0 Do. 

7086 39 Do. 

9781 210 Do. 

4461 8g Cashel and Emly, 

5365 m Do. 

2216 none Do. 

5039 85 Do. 

5716 68 Do. 

4040 15 Do. 

11722 443 Cloyne. 

5578 74 Do. 

7176 46 Do. 

9027 60 Do. 

2210 1 Elphin 

357J 21 Do. 

9105 27 Do. 

40 Do. 

5934 44 Do. 

7759 47 Do. 

3630 88 Do. 

3438 71 Do. 

14514 266 Do. 

3904 90 Do. 

5012 62 Galway* 



139 



Parishes. Catholics. Not Catholics. Diocesses. 



Feakle 


8184 


16 


Killaloe. 


BrufF, Grange and] 


[ 7323 


118 


Limerick. 


Glenogra J 


r 


Ardeath, Clonalvy, 1 
Sec. J 


j> 3221 


9 


Meath. 


Lisdowney, &c 


5982 


41 


Ossory. 


Moincoin and Car- "] 


I ^ <? j. i 




Tin 


rigeen J 








Callan including " 
Newtown 


> o043 


10/ 


UO. 


Thomastown 


9234 


224 


Do. 


Aughagower 


(5373 


152 


Tuam. 


Garumna 


5834 


12 


Do. 


Seskinane 


3000 


1 


Waterford. 


Dunhill 


5465 


14 


Do. 


Kill, Newtown, &c. 


5405 


21 


Do. 


Carrickbeg, &c 


4832 


31 


Do. 


Rathgorman, &c. 


5038 


40 


Do. 


Kilgobinet 


3079 


4 


Do. 


Ringana 


24.64 


20 


Do. 


Ardmore 


7S71 


39 


Do. 


Clashniore 


<5280 


52 


Do. 


Modeligo 


4294 


46 


Do. 


r our M lie >> ater 


6001 


29 


JJO. 


Kilsheelan 


5053 


30 


Do. 


Ballynefll 


4280 


12 


Do. 


Temple Tenny 


4S6i 


36 


Do. 


Rathcline 


2726 


19 


Westmeath 

i 




283,261 


3220 





There are fifty parishes, containing no less than 2 S3, 261 
Catholics, and only 3220 Protestants, of all sects and per- 
suasions bearing that name. The proportion is, I think, 
eighty-eight to one. Now, by this Act, the power is given 
to the one to tax, at discretion, the eighty-eight, and this in 
a country that pretends to be a free State ; and this, note, 
always in the name of reformed Christianity. But these are 
not the only melancholy reflections this Act excites. It is 
obvious, that the few have the greatest possible temptation 
to raise as much money as possible by assessment, and to 
distribute it among themselves. Take, for example, the 
first parish. It is in my own county. It is called the union 
ofFerreter, Dunquin, &c. There are 7270 Catholics, wad 



140 



18 Protestants. Now, is it not obvious, that the 7270., 
being excluded, the 1 8 Protestants may assemble, and deter- 
mine on building or repairing a church, and each man, 
woman and child of them be employed in or about the 
building, and be maintained by perpetual salaries when the 
church is built. If the Protestants were not numerous in a 
parish, they would feel the weight of the taxation upon their 
own properties ; and if they were numerous they could not 
all be employed in the expenditure of the money, and they 
could not ail get salaries as clerks, sextons, pew-openers, 
beadles, sextonesses, sweepers or vestry-maids, church- 
servants^ singers, ringers, organists, &c. &c. Where the 
Protestants are numerous, there may be some check, although 
even then the majority may, and probably would, have a 
personal interest in large taxation ; but where the Protestants 
are few and the Catholics many, all human motives — ava- 
rice, bigotry — the combined love of power, and love of 
money, all operate to make the taxation as great as possible, 
and all these bad passions are amply furnished with super- 
abundant means of indulgence by this Act of Parliament, 
brought in by Goulburn, and our friend the Attorney - 
General. 

But this Act, grievous as it is in point of vexation, is still 
more abominable in point of principle. It outrages every 
notion of justice and common sense, to take away from us 
the power of protecting our own properties. It is bad 
enough to make us, Catholics, build and re-build churches, 
and furnish wine for the Sacrament, and pay officers for the 
regulation of Protestant worship. It is doubly severe, 
when our ancestors dedicated abundant property to these 
purposes, and that such property is devoted to other and 
hostile hands.. But it is the consummation of cruelty to 
leave it in the power of a few to say, how much of their 
property they will vouchsafe to leave us. The first princi- 
ple of common honesty is, the sacred right of private 
and individual property. The first principle of the British 
Constitution, is, the sacred right of the individul controul of 
every man over his own property, to the exclusion of every 
other interposition. A national tax on any article is lawful 
only because the owners of property are supposed to assent 
to it by their representatives in Parliament. Without that 
assent it would be palpable and avowed robbery. It was 
the violation of this principle that brought one British 
Monarch to the scaffold, and would, it is said by our writers 
on public law, justify revolution. Yet common honesty and 
constitutional principle are, in this Act of Parliament, vio- 



141 



lated and trampled under foot by Goulburn and Plunkett. 
We have no controul over our own. It is no longer our 
own. We are the serfs, the slaves of our masters — the 
Protestants, in vestry assembled. For them we plough — 
for them we reap— or if any part shall hereafter be allowed 
to us to use, we will owe it to the courtesy or contempt of 
the vestry. I do not exaggerate when I say, that if this 
Act were but a few years in operation, the property of every 
Catholic in Ireland would not be worth a pin's fee. 

But who are those to w T hom this pow T er has been given by 
Parliament ? The Protestant vestries. Were those vestries 
unknown to the Legislature ? Were they unaccused ? Or 
if accused, were they acquitted — or, at least, unconvicted ? 
No, Sir, oh ! no. They were accused by us of the grossest 
peculation and oppression — they were tried before Parlia- 
ment — no other evidence was resorted to but their own 
documents, their own books and records. Well, what was 
the result of the trial ? They were convicted, by the una- 
nimous consent of the House of Commons, of (in the words 
of Sir John Newport) corruption, extortion, profligacy, 

AND THE SETTING ALL LAW AND DECENCY AT DEFIANCE. 

But how are they punished — how has British justice, the 
pride and boast of many a story and many a song — how 7 ha* 
British justice punished them ? Have any of the persons 
concerned in this corrupt extortion been punished — have 
they been compelled to disgorge any of the plunder ? Oh ! 
no : they have been rewarded — their powers increased — 
their resources augmented — their means of wealth legalised 
— the extent of their future rapacity left totally uncontrolled, 
undefined, unlimited. Such is modern British justice. But 
if modern British justice has thus convicted and rewarded, 
attainted and enriched the guilty, what has it done to the 
innocent and oppressed accusers ? Why British justice 
turned that severity, which ought to await the guilty, against 
the innocent and unaccused. It put upon us the u caput 
lupijium " of ecclesiastical outlawry ; it has stripped us of 
our birth-right, and taken from us all controul over our own 
property. There is British justice, the pride and boast of 
human nature. 

I now turn in melancholy agony to Mr. Plunkett, and 
ask him, is it thu9 he administers the power of Parliament 
to Ireland ? As to Goulburn, I am sure he did not possess 
vicious ingenuity enough to understand the extent of mis- 
chief he was doing. But I hope our appeal will reach the 
then Attorney-General for England, now an equity judge ; 
and that even the sense of shame, if no better motive exists* 



142 



will induce him to wipe this foul blot from the Statute- 
book, 

I have bestowed much tediousness on the meeting, but I 
have not yet gone farther with this Act than its frightful 
principle, in its double aspect. It is oppressive in its princi- 
ple in two ways ; first, as extending, uniimitedly, the 
powers of taxation to the vestries ; secondly, as totally 
excluding the Catholics from any controul over their own 
property. It is, however, my duty to say, that the machi- 
nery of the Bill is quite worthy of its principles. It is in all 
its parts oppressive, unjust, and unconstitutional. 

The powers are given thus : By the second section, the 
unlimited power of taxation or assessment is given to the 
vestry, being composed exclusively of Protestants, By the 
13th section, the Protestants are exclusively entitled to 
appoint any two persons they please to put such relative 
value as they please on all the property in houses and lands 
in the parish. This just settles the Protestant dominion over 
Catholic property. The second section gives the Protestants 
the entire power to make what charge they please on the 
parish generally. The thirteenth section gives the Protest- 
ants the power to assess as much of that charge on the Catho- 
lics, and as little as they please on the Protestants — because 
they, the Protestants, alone have the power of valuation. 
I shall be told that there is a right of appeal if they make an 
unjust valuation. There certainly is a right of appeal ; but 
that right of appeal is the most wretched mockery of the 
entire system. In the first place, it is not an appeal to the 
Judges of the superior Courts, or to a jury in any way. It 
is merely an appeal to the Justices at the Quarter Sessions. 
Who is ignorant of the multitude of clerical magistrates in 
every county in Ireland ? Who doubts what sympathy they 
would feel on the bench for a Popish appellant, from the 
decision of a Protestant vestry ? Is such an appeal a real 
plan of relief, or an insulting mockery ? But take it as the 
former — let it be real, See what the forms are which must 
be gone through before the appeal can be heard on the me- 
rits, and then I defy any one to deny that the appeal is what 
I call it — an insulting mockery. Look at the 17th section, 
the forms are these : — 

I st. The time for appealing is limited to ten or fourteen 
days. 

2dly. There must be a notice, in writing, given of such 
appeal, to the Parson or Churchwarden, and to three house- 
holders. 

3dly. The notice must be not only in writing, but it must. 



143 



be a writing signed with the name, and in the hand- writing 
of the person appealing. — These are the words of the Act 
of Parliament; so that no man can appeal who does not 
write. You see how every thing bears on the poor. 

4thly. The notice must state the grounds of the appeal. 
Observe, that it would require a good practical lawyer to 
draw such a notice. 

othly. And this alone is sufficient to show what a mockery 
the power of appeal is— the appellant must, on the day of 
lodging the appeal, enter into a recognizance in one hun- 
dred pounds to abide the appeal, and pay such costs as the 
Justices may award, with two sufficient securities. Need [ 
go farther. Where is an Irish peasant or an Irish farmer to 
get two securities in <£l00 each? Aye, and how few coun- 
try gentlemen could get, on the sudden, such securites. It 
is therefore an idle mockery to talk to an Irish peasant or 
farmer of an appeal, which he cannot have without getting 
two sureties sufficiently solvent to be received in a recogni- 
zance of <£l00. They might as well have said one million. 
In truth I must arraign the framers of this Act of intenti- 
onal delusion, when they gave an appeal with such an im- 
possible condition annexed. 

Even if the appeal were received, the first thing to be 
tried, before the merits, is the point of form. That 
unusual clause is express in this Act, and would defeat 
ninety-nine out of every hundred appeals in Ireland ; and to 
crown all, the Sessions are empowered to give such costs as 
they please against the appellant ; yes, £.500 if they please. 
It is true that the Justice, on taking the appeal, has a dis- 
cretion not to require the sureties, if he deems it unneces- 
sary to do so; but that applies only to cases where the 
appellant is so wealthy, that he could get the sureties if he 
required, and is of no importance to the poor peasant or 
farmer. 

This statute is perfect in all its machinery — the modes of 
levying the Rates are new and summary. Formerly a man 
had a chance of escaping oppressive Parish Rates, by shift- 
ing himself and his property out of the obnoxious parish. 
This wretched resourse is taken away by this Act ; for by 
the 20th section, if the rate payable by one individual be 
less than £20 it may be recovered by civil bill decree ; and 
by the 21st section, power is given to levy the Church Rates 
by distress and sale, under the summary warrant of two 
Justices of the Peace, not only within that parish, but in 
any ether parish or county in Ireland. There is no escap- 



144 



ing the fangs of this vulture — they strike deep and wide, and 
meet the blood in every fibre. 

This is not all — the act is perfect still. It may be possi- 
ble that the Protestants of a parish would kindly and con- 
siderately refuse to inflict this hateful Act and its oppres- 
sive taxation on their Catholic neighbours. Even that case 
is provided for — Protestant generosity, or Protestant kind- 
ness shall not protect our properties ; because, if they ne- 
glect to lay as much money as the Archbishop, Bishop, or 
Vicar-General of a vacant diocess, think expedient, the 23d 
section enables such Archbishop, Bishop, or Vicar-General 
to interpose to get plans and estimates — to make the parish 
pay for such plans and estimates, and for all the expences 
of his proceedings, and to compel by monition the making 
such assessment, and levying such sum as he deems neces- 
sary ; and thus even the poor protection of the Protestant 
parish vestry is taken away, and all our property is left at 
the disposal of the Magees and Beresfords of the Establish- 
ment. It is a poor consolation to us that this oppressive Act 
involves the property of the Protestants in the same domi- 
nion of the Archbishop, Bishop, or Vicar-General. 

There is another section in this Act, which shews the 
active and ingenious dexterity that has been used to make 
all efficient for the purposes of ecclesiastical peculation. By 
the old Catholic law, the Cathedrals were of course to be 
repaired out of the Episcopal revenues. Even after the 
Reformation, the " Economy Fund," as it was called, of 
the Chapter, was applicable to that purpose. The clergy, 
however, by degrees, threw part of the burthen on the peo- 
ple, and this extortion was at length sanctioned to a certain 
extent, by a statute of the 39th of the late king, Geo. 3, 
which provided, that when a cathedral was used as a Parish 
Church, an agreement should be made between the Dean 
and Chapter on the one hand, and the Protestant Parishi- 
oners on the other, by which it should be regulated what 
portion of expense the Parish should bear in future, and 
how much the Dean and Chapter. In short, the pro- 
portions were to be settled by an amicable arrangement, in 
which the Protestant Parishioners met the Dean and Chapter 
upon terms of perfect equality. But it is totally altered — the 
42 d section takes away from the Catholic inhabitants all the 
benefit of the common law, and of the statute law also, and gives 
the Bishop in each diocess the power, just as he pleases, by an 
instrument under his hand and seal, to fix and settle how 



145 



much the Dean and Chapter shall in future pay, and how 
much the Parish : that is, he may put one pound, or ten 
shillings, if he thinks one nound too much, on the Dean and 
Chapter, and one hundred pounds^ or one thousand pounds 
upon the parishioners at large. This section is certainly in 
admirable harmony and keeping with the rest of this Act, 
and makes its summary despotism over the property of indi- 
viduals complete, and unmitigated even by the paltry pro- 
tection of mere forms. 

There remain but two or three observations more. This 
Act would not be perfect if it did not give the most uncon- 
trouled power to the persons acting under this statute, to 
levy any monies they pleased, in any manner they thought 
fit, and entire indemnity for all acts of abuse or outrage 
they should commit. It has done so accordingly ; for by 
by the 53d section it is provided, that none of the proceed- 
ings under this Act shall be void for want of form, nor 
shall any irregularity whatsoever create any defect ; and by 
the 54th section, a short from of avowry or plea is given, 
setting forth nothing, and putting all questions of pleading 
at utter defiance. In iEsop's fables the lion reasons thus — 
" I take this because my name is lion." Such is precisely 
the form of pleading given to the Churchwardens by this 
Act. But the Act goes beyond the fable, and gives double 
costs against any body who shall dare to dispute the autho- 
rity of Churchwardens. 

There are two cases provided for. In the first all matters 
are regular in form and substance, and in such a case if the 
Churchwarden be sued by any parishioner, by whom he 
has dealt harshly and cruelly, yet the Churchwardens must 
succeed and get double costs. The second case provided 
for, is one in which the Churchwarden may have this Act 
substantially with him, but all the proceedings under it 
may be so grossly defective and irregular, as to be totally 
unknown to the parties. Yet even in this case the Church- 
warden must succeed and get double costs. There is a 
third case — a case, in which the Churchwarden is wrong, 
both in form and in substance. A case, for example, in 
which a Churchwarden may come into your house, under 
this Act, and knock you down, beat your wife, and fting 
your children to the right and left, and break or take away, 
or destroy your furniture or goods. This is a plain and ille- 
gal trespass — perhaps he owes you an old grudge, and has 
availed himself of his office thus to indulge it. It is a ma- 
licious trespass — you bring your action within three months 
— serve all your notices properly — woe be to you if there 
O 



146 



be anv defect in form in your proceedings — if there be any 
thing that the lynx eye of an expert special pleader can 
avail himself of — if there be any thing that an old consci- 
ence-seared prerogative Judge can lay hold of — you are non- 
suited in a moment, and have to pay double costs, But sup- 
pose you are lucky enough to escape all perils of form, and 
get your case fairly to a jury — the indignant Jury give you 
£500 damages — that is compensation to you ; but is the 
Churchwarden punished ? Oh ! no. He laughs in his 
sleeve at the proceeding. He coolly tots up the costs of 
his own attorney in defending so unrighteous an Act — he 
adds to his own costs those, when taxed, of our attorney 
— he adds to them the £500 damages, and having duly 
ascertained the sum total, and having adjusted that sum by 
the nicest rules of Cocker, he takes this statute in hands and 
reads the 38th section to the parishioners, and then levies 
off the Parish the full amount of such costs and damages, 
and then goes away triumphing in his villainny and the mon- 
strous perfection of this abominable Act of Parliament. — 

I draw to a close of a dull and tedious dissertation ; but 
this statute is so full of matter, that its interest does perhaps 
justify my tediousness. I think I have proved that this 
Act leaves the property of the Catholics completely at the 
mercy of the vestries, and the forbearance of the vestries is 
no protection, because the Protestant Bishop can command 
that spoliation which lay Protestants may be unwilling to 
commit. It is manifest that this Act will not be a dead 
letter. If ever a statute was calculated to execute itself, it 
is this. To those to whom it gives power, it also gives pro- 
fit ; and if power and profit are not temptations enough, 
there is the Protestant Bishop to watch over its progress, 
and to make it impossible to avoid the requisite portion of 
assessment. This Act of Parliament deprives Catholics of 
more valuable rights — that is of more of the actual enjoy- 
ment of their own property than any statute passed since 
the base violation of the Treaty of Limerick, in the reign 
of Queen Anne — It enables the Established Church 

TO LEVY AT LEAST ONE MILLION STERLING, ADDITIONAL, 
PER ANNUM, FROM THE OCCUPIERS OF THE LAN© IN IRE- 
LAND. 

I had like to forget one more trait of perfection in this 
Act Formerly there was but one taxing season in the year 
for Parish vestries — at Easter or thereabouts. That, it 
seems, was too little ; and this Act, after allowing the ves- 
tries to tax for every thing, allows them to tax at every sea- 
s#u ? and in every week of the year. There is a time far 



147 

every thing, says the Proverb. There is no time, in future, 
for Protestant vestries to cease taxing Papists in Ireland. I 
have done, — This Act was passed to amend the law — it was 
passed to redress a clearly established grievance, and this 
— this is the redress. There is but one country in the 
world in which and to which such a thing could happen. 
It could happen only to Ireland. 

There is but one country capable of inflicting so compli- 
cated and treacherous a cruelty. For it has not occurred 
in France, nor yet in Spain. The miserable Ferdinand is 
free from such a reproach as this. He never purported to 
redress a grievance and give such a cure as this. Neither k 
Algiers or Constantinople stained with oppression of this 
description. This pre-eminence belongs to England. 

I conclude as I began. This abominable statute cannot, 
and ought not to be resisted by force, or avenged by out- 
rage. It never can be repealed, except by open, direct, 
constitutional means. Let no law be violated. The man 
who violates the law is the bitterest enemy to Ireland. 
Respect the law, and then let one voice from the Giant's 
Causeway to Cape Clear— too distinct to be mistaken, and 
too loud to be despised, call for its repeal. 



O 2 



MR. SHEIX/S 

SPEECH 

ON 

THE DUKE OP YORK. 



I HAVE waited until the Chair had been left, and the 
meeting of the Association had terminated, in order to intro- 
duce a subject, which, as it is of a purely political nature, i 
refrained from mentioning during the discussions of the 
Association, least it should give them a character of illega- 
lity, and expose me to the imputation of having violated the 
law. 1 refer to the recent observations which have been 
made in the London Papers upon the report of a speech of 
mine at a public dinner. 1 hope that I shall not be consi- 
dered guilty of an overweening egotism, in drawing the 
attention of the individuals, who happen to be assembled 
here, to what may appear to relate to myself. But the 
topics on which I mean to address you, are of public as well 
as of personal interest. The truculent jocularity, and the 
spirit of savage jest, which have been ascribed to me, in 
expatiating on the infirmities of an illustrious person, have 
been regarded as characteristic of the moral habitudes of the 
body to which I belong. Thus, my vindication (for I do 
not rise to make an apology) extends beyond myself. Yet 
let me be permitted to suggest, that it is most unfair to 
impute to a whole people the feelings or the sentiments of 
any single man. The Catholics of Ireland have been repeat- 
edly held responsible for the unauthorised and unsanctioned 
language of individuals. Every ardent expression, every 
word that overflows with gall, every phrase uttered in the 
suddenness of unpremeditated emotion, are converted into 
charges against seven millions of the Irish people. It is 
dealing rather hardly with us, to make a loose after-dinner 



149 



speech, (the mere bubble of the mind) thrown off in the 
heedlessness of conviviality , sl matter of serious accusation 
against a whole community. I am not endeavouring to 
excuse myself upon any such plea as the Bishop of Kilmore 
might resort to, in extenuating his late oration in Cavan ; or. 
the contrary, I am prepared to shew the circumstances, 
which, in my mind, gave warrant to what I said. But I de- 
precate the notion that the language employed either by my- 
self, or by any other individual, should be held to represent 
the opinions of the Irish Catholics. It has been stated, that 
laughter was produced by an ebullition of disastrous merri- 
ment. I will suppose that some two or three dozen of indi- 
viduals in an obscure country town, did not preserve the 
solemnity with which any allusion to the maladies of an 
illustrious person ought to have been received, yet it is 
wholly unjust to hold the Irish Catholics responsible for 
their lack of sensibility. Having said this much, in order 
to rescue my fellow-labourers in the cause of emancipation, 
from any responsibility for individual demerit, I shall pro- 
ceed to state, what, in my judgment, affords a justification 
of the language employed upon the occasion to which I 
refer. I shall not deny that I entertain a solicitude upon 
this subject. It is affectation on the part of any man to say, 
that he holds the censure of the press in no account. I cannot 
but be sensible that I am, from my comparative want of perso- 
nal importance, more exposed to the injurious consequence 
of such a simultaneous assault. But I do not complain ; 
whoever intermeddles in public proceedings, must be pre- 
pared for occasional condemnation. It is one of the neces- 
sary results of notoriety, and I submit to it, as a portion of 
my fate. I shall not, therefore, insinuate that there is any 
mock sentimentality in the amiable indignation with which 
the writers of the Whig Journals have vented their censures 
upon what they call the barbarous hilarity of an after-dinner 
harangue. I will not say, that it is easy to procure a cha- 
racter for high sentiment, by indulging in a paroxysm of 
editorial anger. Nay, I will give the gentlemen who have 
put so much sentiment into type, credit for sincerity, and 
without attempting to retaliate, without referring them to 
their own comments upon the illustrious immoralities of the 
distinguished person to whom I have alluded, I shall state the 
grounds of which I conceive that I have been unjustly assailed. 
I is right that I should at once proceed to mention exactly 
what took place. The Chairman of the Meeting in ques- 
tion, deviated from the ordinary usage at Roman Catholic 



150 



dinners, and, in compliance with what, from his mexpm- 
ence, he considered to be a sort of formula of convma loy- 
alty, proposed the health of a man, who is an object, to 
Hse the mildest phrase, of strong national disrelish This 
I confess, excited my indignation. I felt md *f^! *P* 
where is the man who has one drop of manly Mo^nihw 
heart, who would not feel indignation at being called I on _to 
offer a public homage to the individual, who < has an oath 
?n Heaven" against his country. I was tempted at first to 
llstrate in the language of violent reproof "W* 
an obnoxious toast, and 1 own that I felt it difficult to re- 
Sain ?he emotions which, in common with every Roman 
Catholic, I entertain towards the man, who is the avowed 
ana devoted antagonist of Ireland. I recollected, howev r 
that the Chairman had done no more than complj With what 
he conceived to be a mere form, and I ^re f ore preferred, 
a mockery of the sentiment to any solemn denunaataon — 
To the toast the expression of a hope was annexed, that 
wkh tlie restoration of health, his feelings towards this 
country should undergo an alteration. " My gorge rose 
at the no£ of a man! whose hereditary obstinacy has been 
formed by an adjuration of his 

dinarian convert to liberal opinions The ran mt on from 
an-er to derision is an easy one, and 1 could not help ► ra- 
ffing in the luxury of scorn (for it is not without its gra- 
tification,) and in the spirit of a gay malevo ence, but not of 
heartless'ridicule, I stated, that I did not despair of seeing 
a consummation of the pious aspirations m which 1 natt 
beTcTdtojoin, wheJlrecdl^.thatFr^i™;.. |J 
nolitics might be as fleeting as those m loye, and that as 
S Jove laughs at lover's perjuries," I apprehended an un- 
fortunate stability in « soVlp me God ! It was un- 
natural that in this mood of unpremedita ted moc kery, I 
should make citations from certain celebrated ^epistles , wh«e 
vows of everlasting attachment were Mcceeded by liindeli- 
ties of so much infelicitous renown. The report of what 1 
Sd was not full, and although I do not affect to say ^ that 
the expressions imputed to me were not used, yet they are 
presS to thepnblic eye, without much cone— ng. 
ter, which would shew them in, perhaps, a d'ffeient lignt. 
I am sorry that the references to those cekbrated lettej 
were omitted. The following were among the P^fS- * 
which I alluded, and which I think will bear me out How 
can I sufficiently express to my sweetest, my darling lov 
Z delight which her dear, her pretty ette * gave »e-* l 
lions of thanks for it, my angel. Doctor O deliverer 



151 



your letter. He wishes much to preach before royalty, and 
if I can put him in the way of it, I will. What a time it 
appears to me, my darling, since w T e parted, and how im- 
patiently I look forward to next Wednesday night. God 
bless you, my dear love ; ah ! believe me, even to my last 
hour, your's, and your's alone." Thus, you perceive, that 
his affection was sealed with as strong a vow as his antipa- 
thy. The next letter gives vent to still more impetuous 
emotions. a How can 1 express to my darling love my 
thanks for her dear, dear letter. Oh ! my angel, do me 
justice, and be convinced that there never was a woman 
: adored as you are. There are still, however, two whole 
nights before I shall clasp my dear angei in my arms. Co- 
vering is mistaken, my dear, in thinking there are any new 
regiments to be raised. (Thereby hangs a tale.) Thanks, 
my love, for the handkerchiefs, which are delightful, and I 
need not, I trust, assure you, of the pleasure I feel in 
wearing them, and thinking of the dear hands who made 
thera for me. Adieu, my sweetest love, until the day after 
to-morrow , and be assured, that until my last hour, I shall 
remain your's and your's alone." It would be doing injus- 
tice to the celebrated writer of these exotic effusions, if I 
did not add that his recommendation of an Irish Divine, 
was fully justified by the result, for the Morning Post men- 
tions, that while the Doctor, with the Irish Omega, in his 
name, was preaching, the father of the illustrious indivi- 
dual was very attentive, and his mother and sisters were 
melted into tears. There is an amusement of a demi lite- 
rary kind, commonly called "cross reading" I have some- 
times put the " So help me God" oration, into juxta posi- 
tion with the amatory lucubrations from which I have given 
a few extracts, and the reading stood thus : " It was con- 
nected with the serious illness of one now no more. Doc- 
tor O' wishes much to preach before royalty. I have 

never seen any reason to regret or change the line which I 
then took." " Oh ! my angel, do me justice, and be con- 
vinced that there never was a woman adored as you are — 
there are still, however, two whole nights before I can clasp 
my angel in my arms." I feel very strongly on the whole 
subject — " ten thousand thanks, my love, for the handker- 
chiefs, which are delightful." .Here he became sensibly af- 
fected. - e I have been brought up all my life in these prin- 
ciples, and be assured, that to my last hour, I shall ever 
remain your's, and your's alone, ' So help me God !' " — 
This amalgamation of his passions and his politics, in which 
his vices and his virtues are fused together, presents his cha- 



152 



racter in a just light. But I should lay aside the lan- 
guage of derision. Why have I made these references to 
transactions, which, but for his relentless anthipathies to my 
country, I should readily have forgotten ? It is not in the 
spirit of wanton malignity and inglorious revenge. It 
is for the purpose of recalling to the commentators 
upon myself the period at which that illustrious per- 
son was an object of as much aversion in England, 
as he is in Ireland at this day.— It is for the pur- 
pose of branding his protestations about conscience, 
with all the scorn which they merit ; it is in order to 
exhibit, in their just light, his appeals to heaven • to put 
his morality into comparison with his religion, and to 
tear off the masque by which the spirit of oppression is 
sought to be disguised. Conscience, forsooth ! It is enough 
to make one's blood boil to think on't ! That he who had 
publicly, and in the open common day, thrown off every 
coverlet of shame — who had wallowed in the blackest stie 
of profligate sensuality, an avowed and ostentatious adulterer, 
whose harlot had sustained herself by the sale of Commis- 
sions, and turned footmen into brigadiers ! that he yet 

hot and reeking from the results of a foul and most dis 
graceful concubinage, should, without sense or memory or 
feeling, before the eyes of the whole empire, with the 
traces of his degradation still fresh upon him, presume to call 
upon the name of the Great and Eternal God, and in all the 
blasphemy of sacrilegious cant, dedicate himself with an 
invocation of heaven to the everlasting oppression of my 
country ! This it is that sets me, and every Irish Catholic, 
on fire ! This is it which raises, excites, inflames, and ex- 
asperates! This it is that applies a torch to our passions. 
This it is that blows our indignation into flame. And it is 
this, which, in the eyes of men, who stand the cold specta- 
tors of our sufferings, and yield us a fastidious sympathy in 
our wrongs, makes us appear factious, virulent, and feroci- 
ous. This it is which makes them think that our mouths 
are foaming with rapid froth, and that there is poison mixed 
with madness in our fangs. I will furnish our anta- 
gonists with expressions of condemnation : I will assist their 
vocabulary of insult — I will allow them to heap contumely 
upon contumely, and reproach upon reproach, and I will 
only answer, that if they were similarly situated, they 
would feel with the same poignancy, and speak with the 
same turbulent virulence as ourselves, — I will only say, in 
the language of the great master of human nature — 
" You should not speak of what you cannot feel." 



153 



They cannot feel our condition, or appreciate our injuries to 
their full extent. I cannot say the same thing of the illus- 
trious person to whom 1 have alluded. He has been placed 
in circumstances somewhat analogous. Good God ! that 
such a man should tell us that we labour under no privation, 
and are subject to no wrong ! What were his own feelings 
— how did his heart beat when he was driven by the loud 
and reiterated cries of the English people, from his high 
office ! We are told by him that an exclusion from the ho- 
nours of the State is no substantive injury. Did he forget 
his own letter to the House of Commons, in which he 
offered up an Act of contrition for the consequences if his 
impure connexion, and. acknowledging that his heart was 
almost broken, resigned his office ! Did the sacrifice cost 
him no pang ? Did the oblation which he made to the 
public feeling awake no painful sensation in his mind ? Did 
not his cheek burn, and was not his face turned into scarlet, 
when he took the pen with a trembling hand, (for it must 
have trembled,) and signed the instrument of his resigna- 
tion ! What a palsy must have seized his arm when he let 
the truncheon fall ! And if in that dreadful crisis he felt a 
deep agony of heart, should he not make some allowance 
for those who, for no other cause than a conscientious adhe- 
rence to the religion in which they were born and trust to 
die, are excluded from those honours which are accessible 
to every other class of British subjects ? What then is the 
charge against me ? That I have not enough of Joseph 
Surface in my character, to express a wish that the great ob- 
stacle to my liberty should not be removed ! My crime is, 
that I am not a hypocrite so base, as to allow a public liba- 
tion to his name, to pass without a comment. It was 
extorted from me, and my observations were not dictated by 
any cold and deliberate malice toward the individual, but 
by the feeling of distaste which the annoueement of such a 
toast produced in my mind. The sarcasm was directed to the 
sentiment and not to the man. With respect to the indivi- 
dual himself, I doubt not that in private life he is not 
destitute of good qualities. It is said that he is a person of 
honour, and of a kindly dispositon. This I am not inclined 
to controvert ; and it would be an injustice not to add, that 
in many particulars, in his official capacity, he is entitled to 
praise. Diligence, punctuality, and an attention to the 
interests of the inferior class of persons, who are placed un- 
der his superintendance, are among his merits. But what com- 
pensation does good nature afford for the denial of liberty ? 
The mistakes of men in his condition are equivalent in their 



154 



consequences to acts of deliberate criminality. Imbecility 
of understanding, and obstinacy of character, generate as 
many evil results as depravity of disposition, and, if I may 
employ the phrase, tyranny of heart. If I have adverted to 
conduct, which, in a court, is called folly, but which in 
lower departments of society is called vice, it is not that I 
am anxious to exaggerate those weaknesses which exposed 
him to ridicule, into enormity. The absurdities in love, 
into which he fell, should rest in oblivion, if he did not, by 
talking of the pain to which the Royal conscience would be 
exposed, provoke a contrast between his life and his protest- 
ations, and make us tear open the tattered curtains of con- 
cubinage, in order to draw arguments against him from an 
adulterous bed. Who, we inevitably ask, is the man who 
appeals to heaven ? Who is the man that entreats the 
House to consider the torture of conscience in which the 
Sovereign is thus placed ? Who is it that lifts up his hand 
and exclaims, "So help me God ?" Is he a man of pure and 
unblemished life ? Is he a man of bright and immaculate 
morality r» Is he a man distinguished for his fidelity to his 
pecuniary contracts, and who never allowed his humble 
creditors to be the victims of a licentious prodigality? 
These are the interrogatories which this appeal to Almighty 
God necessarily forces upon us. We are rendered astute in 
the detection of errors, by the anxiety to find fault, and look 
into the life of such a person with a microscopic scrutiny. 
It is much to be regretted that he has exhibited a solicitude 
to be hated by the Irish people. He has lost no opportu- 
nity to gather about his name the antipathies of this coun- 
try. Witness his having accepted the office of Grand 
Master of an illegal association of men, combined together 
for the oppression of their fellow-countrymen, and who, 
perverting the word of God into the signal of massacre, 
employed as a motto of their sanguinary institution, " Thy 
foot shall be steeped in the blood of thine enemies, and the 
tongue of thy dog shall be red with the lapping thereof/' Is it, 
then, to be expected, that, for the Ex-Grand Master of an 
Orange Lodge we should entertain much tendernessand anx- 
iety, or that any man who has taken the active part which I 
have, in Catholic affairs, should allow his name, when held up 
as an object of sympathy, to pass without some reprehensive 
comment ? I do not exult in any corporal suffering which 
he may endure. If he suffers pain, and it were in my 
power to alleviate it, I should obey the instincts of my 
nature, and, dismissing my political detestations, bear him 
relief. But if I am asked whether I should desire to see 



155 



the misfortunes of my country prolonged, I answer, " the 
liberty of Ireland is too dear." He is. it is bevond all 
doubt, the great obstacle to concession. What, then, do our 
opponents expect from us ? If they require that excess of 
Christian philosophy, which should teach us to offer up our 
orisons for the degradation of our country, they ask too 
much. What would Catholic Emancipation produce ? It 
would promote a v/hole people to their just level in the 
State ; it would create tranquillity, and open the sources of 
national wealth in a land which is impoverished by its dis- 
tractions, it would bind us in harmony together, and put 
an end to those dissensions by which w r e are rent asunder, 
and by which all the charities of life are blasted ; it would 
remove that spirit of animosity and virulence which fills the 
hearts of men with the worst passions, and makes them turn 
with an emulation of hatred upon each other ; it would, in 
one word, produce a great and permanent national reconci- 
liation, and fix the stability of the British empire upon an 
everlasting foundation. These would, in my mind, be the 
glorious results of Catholic Emancipation : and I am only 
speaking the feeling of the whole Irish people, when I avow 
that I do not desire the perpetuation of the chief impedi- 
ment that stands in its way, and thus obstructs a consumma- 
tion which every lover of hi* country must most devoutly 
wish. 



MR. SHEIL'S 

SPEECH 

ON THE 

DEATH OF THE DUKE OP YORK. 



Mr. SHEIL rose and said — The Duke of York — (in this 
crisis of our affairs, let me be excused for the introduction 
of a subject, which, although it be not immediately con- 
nected with the question before you, yet occupies the 
thoughts and absorbs the emotions of the Irish people) — the 
Duke of York — (the utterance of his name has fixed your 
attention, and I own to you that I do not speak it without 
a palpitation of the heart) — the Duke of York, the eldest 
brother of a childless King, whose hand had almost grasped 
the sceptre, and whose foot was upon the throne — he to i 
whom Providence appeared to have assigned the performance 
of so important a part in the concerns of mankind, who had i 
gathered so much expectation around him — upon whom the 
eyes of three nations were turned, and who was at once the 
source of so much hope and of so much despair — but why 
should I expand the feelings associated with his name into 
amplification, when that name itself carries its own commen- 
tary ? — and it is enough to say, that while I am speaking, the 
Duke of York is dying — perhaps the Duke of York is 
already dead The last struggle of human agony may be 
over — the last gasp may have been heaved — the tongue by 
which God was evoked, may be silent ; and ere this the arm 
that was raised to heaven against my country, may lie stiff 
and cold for ever. It will be asked, wherefore thus abruptly, 
and in the midst of a debate upon subjects wholly distinct, 
I enter upon so solemn and momentous a theme? For 
two reasons — first, because the event itself is one of sur- 
passing importance ; and, secondly, because I have a 
sort of peculiar, and some will, perhaps, consider it 
an unhappy right, to deliver my sentiments in anticipa- 
tion of an incident, which, when it shall take place, 



157 



will make England turn round and inquire, with what emo- 
tions the announcement will have been received in Ireland? 

You will observe that I speak of this incident, as if it had 

already taken place, or had begun to be. No doubt can 
any longer be entertained that the illustrious person to whom 
I refer is, for all political purposes, dead ; and in Courts, in 
the estimate of Statesmen and of expectants, between the 
dving and the dead, there is little difference. There is little 
difference between the death-bed of royalty and its grave. 
The lamp that lights the chamber of an expiring Prince dif- 
fuses a gleam as dismal as the glare of those torches with 
which the vaults of Windsor Castle shortly will be illumi- 
nated. Of the Duke of York, therefore, 1 may speak as if 
his dust were already mingled with the remains of the So- 
vereign, whose faults and good qualities he seems to have 
inherited. What then shall I now say of him ? This: — 

" Thou art dead, Alonzo, 
" So is my enmity." — 

Many a man who hears me will be disposed to inquire whe- 
ther I have entered this assembly for the purpose of making 
a recantation of what, some months before his death, and 
when there was much controversy respecting his health, I 
uttered in his regard. I answer — a recantation may consist of 
sentiments and assertions. The facts which I stated consti- 
tute a portion of the history of these countries, and how- 
ever they might admit of extenuation, cannot be denied 
with truth. This is not the time to indulge in any contu- 
melious allusion to infelicities of conduct, connected more 
with a weakness of the affections, than with any rooted de- 
pravity of heart. But if I am asked, whether the death of 
an imprudent, a rash, a precipitate and headstrong, but not 
a base, dishonest, false and dissimilating antagonist, will 
afford me matter for savage exultation, and for inglorious 
triumph, I answer — certainly not; nor should the people 
of this country follow the example set them by the English, 
who, at the burial of Castlereagh, shouted at the gates of 
Westminster Abbey, and commended him with execrations 
to the grave. While the death of the Duke of York was 
problematical — while it was asserted upon one hand that he 
was in no danger, and his danger was only matter of sur- 
mise on the other — while the balance which contained the 
destinies of the country was trembling, it was not very un- 
natural, however it might be regarded as indiscreet, to 
P 



158 



give vent to a desire, when its expression was actually pro- 
voked under very peculiar and very exciting circumstances, 
that the chief impediment to the liberties of Ireland should 
not last for ever. I might have said, in the language of the 
Lamentations, " My soul was filled with bitterness, and I 
was drunk with wormwood." But now that doubt has been 
converted into certainty — now that we hear that a Prince is 
dying, and expect every instant that a cry will come upon 
us which shall tell that " that a Prince is dead" — now that 
death, who, while he levels the great, subdues the animo- 
sities of the humble, and while he resolves the hearts of 
Princes into dust, softens the hearts of the lowly into com- 
miseration — now that the bell of that lofty temple that 

towers over the great city has begun to toll — now 

it is not with affectation that I speak, when I declare, that 
so far from experiencing any feeling of fierce and truculent 
hilarity, every emotion of anger, every vindictive and acri- 
monious sentiment passes away, and the passions by which 
I confess that I was recently actuated, expire and die within 
me. Let it not be supposed that I am so poor minded, that 
I am sufficiently mean, and paltry, and disingenuous to state, 
that I look upon the death of the Duke of York with 
regret; I do not. No Roman Catholic in this coun- 
try does — and if sorrow were affected, it should be re- 
garded with derision and contempt. I am also sufficiently 
secure of the good opinion of that body to which I belong, 
and of which I have received many attestations, to be con- 
vinced that no pusillanimous or unworthy motive will be 
attributed to me in doing what I consider an act of justice 
to one, who having no longer the power to injure, should 
excite hate no more. If I trust thorns into his pillow, I will 
not sow thistles upon his grave. I am willing, if it be 
possible, to forget the anathemas pronounced against my 
country — I am willing, if it can be made matter for ob- 
livion, to forget, that wantonly and unnecessarily, and in 
the spirit of a gratuitous folly, he declared himself the un- 
alterable opponent of our claims, and not only checked ex- 
pectation, but extinguished hope ; all this, and more than 
this, I am inclined to forget, or if I am forced to remem- 
ber that to which it is impossible not in some degree to re- 
vert, I am disposed to make allowance for early prejudices, 
imbibed from a Hanoverian parentage, and sucked in with 
Lutheran milk. I remember the catechism of the royal 
nursery, and the perpetual inculcation that it was to their 
religion that this family were indebted for their throne. I 




159 

further recollect how difficult it is for philosophy to find 
its way into a palace ; and how flattery and subserviency 
block the minds of princes up ; and, above all, I recol- 
lect how much that man is to be forgiven, who has the mis- 
fortune to be surrounded by bad councillors, who is con- 
verted into the utensil of a faction, and who has Liverpool 
ejaculating at one ear, and Eldon weeping at the other. It 
would be unfair and unmanly, not to take these extenuating 
circumstances into account; and, at all events, nothing should 
be " set down in malice." Let me be permitted to add, 
that in his private life the Duke of York exhibited many 
generous and even noble qualifications. If he had not been 
born a prince,, he would, in all likelihood, have been a truly 
good and moral man, and even the imperfections almost in- 
separable from his education, could not entirely vitiate an 
originally fine and kindly nature. He was admitted, upon 
all hands, to have been a man of strict fidelity to his engage- 
ments, and of high personal honour — a gentleman in the 
most enlarged and moral sense of the word, frank, open, 
honest, and unaffected, who never destroyed with a false 
hope, or ruined with a smile. Easy and accessible — pre- 
serving the sense of his own dignity, but never offending the 
feelings of those by whom he was approached — endowed 
with that lofty gentleness and fine suavity, which ensure 
attachment while they command respect, the Duke of York 
must be confessed, even by those who are most inclined to 
find fault with him, to have deserved no ordinary portion 
of that popularity which he had acquired. Nor was it to 
his private life that his good qualities were confined. As Com- 
mander-in-Chief, he obtained a kind of renown for his impar- 
tiality, and secured the affections of the army, thro' his care 
of the interests of the humbler classes engaged in the service. 
It is no small praise, that the complaint of the meanest sol- 
dier would not have been dismissed without investigation, 
and, if he deserved it, without redress. To the comforts of 
the soldiers he dedicated the most persevering and anxious 
attention, and many of our poor countrymen, on the sum- 
mits of the Pyrennees, in wrapping themselves from the 
sleet and from the blast, had reason to remember the humane 
anxieties of the Duke of York. Will any of you blame me 
for speaking thus ? Will any of you consider me a de- 
serter of my party, or think that I run from my colours ? 
Will any of you — of you who have Irish hearts and natures, 
and in whom resentment and bad passion cannot keep an 
everlasting hold — will anv of vou condemn me for speaking 
P 2 



160 



thus ? You know me too well to suspect me — you know 
too well, that when it was required either by what I owed 
to the country or to myself, that I should not recede, that I 
not only stood my ground, but I bade defiance to all results. 
What I did speak, I spoke boldly and deliberately ; but the 
gentlemen connected with the press will do me the justice 
to admit, that I told them I should take the whole responsi- 
bility upon my own head ; I therefore can now afford to do 
what I consider an act of justice, without imputation of 
either inconsistency or fear, and, I believe, it will be con- 
fessed upon all hands, that I should be absurd indeed, if I 
thought there was any thing to gain, But a truce to this 
egotism — enough of myself. It is wise to consider what 
course the country ought to take in this important change 
of circumstances. I am decidedly of opinion, that while we 
should avoid expressing any false and dishonourable regret y 
we should, on the other hand, give way to no bursts of 
exultation. But there is no danger that feelings will be 
expressed which have no deep existence amongst us. Let 
us, instead of taking vindictive and angry retrospects, 
turn to futurity, and lifting our eyes from the grave, look 
forward to the new prospects which are opening before us. 
It is better that the faults of the Duke of York should be 
speedily commended to forgiveness. Indeed it is almost 
unnecessary to express a desire, which the natural oblivion, 
that must befal the greatest as well as their inferiors, 
cannot fail to accomplish. In a month hence the Duke of 
York will be forgotten. The pomp of death will for a few 
nights fill the gilded apartments in which his body will lie 
in state. The artist will endeavour to avert that decay to 
which even Princes are doomed, and embalm him with 
odours, which may resist the cadaverous scent for a while. 
He will be laid in a winding sheet fringed with silver and 
with gold — he will be enclosed in rich and spicy wood, and 
his illustrious descent and withered hopes will be inscribed 
upon his glittering coffin. The bell of St Paul's will toll ; 
London — rich, luxurious, Baby Ionic London — will start at 
the recollection that even kings must die. His Royal Bro- 
ther may shed a tear over his memory, and wipe his eyes, 
with the kerchief which is yet wet with his parental sorrows. 
The day of his solemn obsequies will arrive — the gorgeous 
procession will go forth in its funeral glory— the ancient 
Chapel of Windsor Castle will be thrown open, and its Go- 
thic aisle will be thronged with the array of Royalty — the 
emblazoned windows will be illuminated- — the notes of holy 



161 



melody will arise — the beautiful service of the dead will be 
repeated by the heads of the Church, of which he will be 
the cold and senseless champion — the vaults of the dead will 
be unclosed — the nobles, and the ladies, and the High Priests 
of the land, will look down into those deep depositories of 
the pride, and the vanity, and the ambition of the world. 
They will behold the heir to the greatest empire in the world 
taking possession, not of the palace, which was raised at 
such an enormous and unavailing cost, but of that ' house 
which lasts till doomsday/ The coffin will go sadly and 
slowly down ; they will hear it as its ponderous mass strikes 
on the remains of its regal kindred ; the chaunt will be re- 
sumed, a moment's awful pause will take place — the marble 
vault, of which none but the Archangel shall disturb the 
slumbers, will be closed — the songs of death will cease — the 
procession will wind through the aisles again, and restore them 
to their loneliness. The torches will fade again in the ope* 
daylight — the multitude of the great, who will have attend- 
ed the ceremony, will gradually disperse ; they will roll 
again in their gilded chariots into the din and tumult of the 
great metropolis ; the business, and the pursuits, and all the 
frivolities of life will be resumed, and the heir to three 
kingdoms will be in a week forgotten. We, too, shall for- 
get and pardon him. But while we are thus willing to 
drink of that wholesome Lethe, whose drafts are full of 
such moral salubrity — while we are thus resolved upon act- 
ing the part which becomes our country and its religion, kt 
us not be insensible to the great and most important change 
which has taken place in our political prospects ; and let us 
recollect, that there is ground for expecting that the Heir 
Presumptive is not unfavourable to our claims. He is nearly 
allied with one of the ablest, most enlightened, and lofty- 
minded Statesmen of the time. Much may be expected from 
his intercourse with a man, who, akin in spirit, as well as in 
blood, to the immortal Fox, (for such men cannot altogether 
die,) — he is not distinguished by that obstinacy of character 
which was the prominent feature in the mind of his brother. 
What a splendid occasion, what a noble and illustrious oppor- 
tunity such as fortune has furnished to few, even of those to 
whom Providence has left perhaps too much influence upon 
the destinies of mankind ! He must perceive the fault com- 
mitted by his brother — he must feel what a mistake it was, 
to marshal the antipathies, and provoke the hostility of a 
whole people-— he cannot be insensible of the rashness by 
which an honest minded, but unthinking man, pledged 
P 3 



162 



himself by an oath to heaven, to resist the claims of seven 
millions of his future subjects — he must see that this was, 
to speak of such conduct in the gentlest terms, most ab- 
surd, impolitic and unwise He has therefore the benefit 
of a solemn admonition delivered to him in a very striking 
example. Should he remain neutral as the Duke fe of York 
should have remained, his neutrality will, at least, rescue 
him from disrelish. But should he act the loftier and 
more magnanimous part of embracing the interests of" 
eon-third of the population of the Empire, and devoting 
himself to the promotion of a cause, which not only ar- 
rests the attention of these countries, but has awakened the 
solicitudes of foreign nations, and is the subject of discussion 
in every eabinet in Europe — he will obtain for himself an 
everlasting place in the affections and the' gratitude of the 
Irish people. Which, then, is the best course ? Which is 
it wiser or better to secure the adulation of the Parsons, or 
the devotion of Ireland ? Which is it better to conciliate 
Peel, Liverpool and Eldon, or, at a moment when the eyes 
of Europe are fixed upon this country — when the debates of 
the Erench Parliament turn upon our numbers, our inju- 
ries, and our determination — when England is taunted with 
her domestic discords, and she is told that she carries the 
seeds of ruin in the very foundations of her system — which 
is it better to deprive the enemies of England of this cause 
of insolent trinmph and contumelious reproach, and to make 
the heart of every Irishman beat with an ardent, an en- 
thusiastic, a devoted, and a grateful loyalty, and marshal! 
alL the strength and energies of a brave, a fiery, and most 
martial population in the defence of the Empire — which, I 
say, is it better and more consistent with just feeling to do 
all this, or, for the purpose of feeding the passions of the 
sacerdotal multitude, and pampering the spirit of intol- 
lerant domination, which rages in the hearts of their Pon- 
tiffs and High Priests, with nothing to be gained, but the 
lacrymotory sycophancy of Eldon, the holy plaudits of 
Liverpool, Bloomfield's apostate panegyric, and the oppro- 
brious encomium of Magee, to keep this country in a 
state of perilous distraction, and appalling discontent ; to 
nurture, if 1 may say so, a cancer in the very centre and 
bosom of the empire, to raise up a dreadful incompati- 
bility between our interests and our duty, to make our al- 
legance effort of our feelings, rather than a voluntary 
and unbidden effusion of our principles, or, in one word, 
continue that frightful state of things, which ought to 



163 



make every good man shudder — whose is every day 
hurrying this country to a most alarming crisis, in an- 
ticipating bloody result, we are justified in exclaiming, 
" Be it upon them and upon their children's heads r" 



MR. SHEILS 



SPEECH 

ON THE 

NEW REFORMATION, 



SPOKEN AT AN 

AGGREGATE MEETING. 



Mr. SHIEJL said, — Peel is out — Batliurst is out-— West- 
morland is out— Goulburn (but he is not worth mention) is 
out — Wellington, the bad Irishman, (he was once a pager 
in the castle, and acquired a habit of thinking as trailing 
as a Lady Lieutenant's gown) is out— and, thanks be to 
God, the hoary champion of every abuse— the venerable 
supporter of corruption in all its forms — the pious antago- 
nist of every generous sentiment — the virtuous opponent of 
every liberal amelioration— the immaculate Senator, who 
wept over the ruins of Grampound ; the incorruptible 
judge, who declared the Princess of Wales to be innocent, 
the Queen of England to be guilty— Eldon, procrastinat- 
ing, canting, griping, whining, weeping, ejaculating, pro- 
testing, money-getting, and money-keeping Eldon, is out. 
This, after all, is something. We have got rid of that 
eandid gentleman, who, for an abridgment of the decalo- 
gue, would abridge Ireland of her liberties. We have got 
rid of the gaoler who presided over the captivity of Napo- 
leon, and was so well qualified to design what Sir Hudson 
Lowe was so eminently calculated to execute. We have 
got rid of the authoritative soldier, who has proved him- 
self as thankless to his Sovereign as he had been ungrateful 
to his country, and who has been put to the right about 



165 



left— and, better than all — better than the presumption of 
Wellington, the narrow heartedness of Bathurst, the arro- 
gance of Westmorland, the ostentatious manliness and ela- 
borate honesty of Mr. Peel, we have got rid of John Lord 
Eldon's tears. The old hypocrite ! His mind is like the 
face of the witch in Horace, " stercore fucata crocodili." 
Yet it were doing him wrong not to admit, that once in his 
life, his sorrows were sincere, when upon a recent occasion, 
looking the sympathetic Wetherell, and the renegade Sug- 
den, in the face, his Lordship wept and blubbered a resig- 
nation. The whole empire rejoices at his fall, and by that 
fall much has been already gained by this country. Mr. Can- 
ning, and his friends, will not relinquish the determination 
the moment they have acquired the power, to do us justice. 
I have no distrust of them ; and with respect to the measure 
which we ought to adopt, I will say but one word, namely, 
that we ought not to harass and embarrass the men who are 
still surrounded with difficulties, and who must be allowed 
time to mature their good intents towards our cause. They 
have been long convinced that emancipation is requisite to 
allay our animosities, and every day affords a new illustra- 
tion of its necessity. In what part of the world is religious 
rancour carried to such a point of detestation ? — Our evils 
were already sufficiently great, but a new and a worse cala- 
mity has lately arisen in the furious spirit of controversy 
which tias recently broken out in Ireland. In prosecuting 
their favourite scheme of establishing a New Reformation, 
(which Leslie Foster, in a paroxysm of unusual eloquence, 
informed the House of Commons, that it would be as diffi- 
cult to resist as to stop the falls of Niagara) the itinerant 
teachers of a new-tangled Christianity disturb the public- 
peace, sow discord wherever they appear, and exasperate the 
people, by casting upon their priesthood the most contume- 
lious invectives with which foul tongues can be supplied by 
still fouler and baser hearts. The New Reformation ! 
Though 1 should incur the anathema of the Ex- Secretary 
to Lord Lansdowne, and Dr. Bloomfield should indulge in 
a burlesque on the Apocalypse, I cannot but smile at this 
preposterous undertaking. , In candour, however, I should 
say, that in one respect these symptoms of renovated Chris- 
tianity correspond with the circumstances attending its 
original institution. It is among the poor, the naked, and 
the destitute, that truth is making its way. It is among the 
dregs of the community that the premiums of apostacy are 
successfully applied. It is amidst the smoke of hovels that 
this new light has broken forth. It is in the exhalations of 



166 



pig-sties that the holy spirit has appeared. There is no 
tack of Magdalens among the converts to this New Refor- 
mation. This difference, however, exists between the 
institution of Christianity and the New Reformation — neither 
Lord Farnham nor Lord Lorton bear any very great resem- 
blance to the first delegates of Christ, For my part, I 
conceive that the real interests of religion are deeply affected 
by the scenes which are going on in this country, and I 
apprehend, that if the Catholic creed be subverted, infide- 
lity will rise out of its ruins. By teaching men to explore, 
you may disturb and weaken the deepest foundations of 
their faith. Witness the pleasant story told by Mr. Pope upon 
the adventures of a mouse with the Eucharist. ec Could a 
mouse run away with the Godhead ?" cries Mr. Pope. 
£e Did the author of the sun, to whose throne the eye of 
Galileo could not approach, perish upon a cross ?" This 
is the impious interrogatory of the infidel, which is analogous 
to the pious question of Mr. Pope ; and he and his confede- 
rates, by familiarising the ignorant and unthinking to the 
contemplation of subjects which are above their reason, and 
do not fall within the cognizance of the imperfect intellect 
of man, lend their involuntary aid to those who have set up 
as apostles of annihilation, and with a passion for atheism, 
take a disastrous pride in withering the hopes and blasting 
the moral and consolatory anticipations of mankind. I 
confess that I look on the recent controversy which has 
agitated this city, as likely to be injurious to the cause of 
genuine religion ; for it has made its most sacred mysteries 
a subject of theological chit-chat. I do not mean to cast 
the least blame upon Mr, Maguire, who was actually 
dragged into the combat by his opponent ; on the contrary, 
I think that Mr, Maguire acquitted himself in a manner 
which reflects the greatest credit upon him ; for although 
hitherto unknown, and wholly unpractised in public speak- 
ing, he entered the lists with the great prize fighter in 
polemics without dismay, and deriving a genuine eloquence 
from the consciousness that he spoke the truth, evinced a 
decided superiority over his antagonist. He was never 
once betrayed into anger — while his opponent, by his con- 
tumelious charges, indicated the depth to which his pride 
had been wounded. He looked at him with the smile with 
which Calvin ordered Servetus to the flames. It is by the 
convulsive passions that agitated the evil spirit in the 
disguise of an angel, that Uriel discovered the enemy of 
mankind — and it may be said in the language of Milton, of 
this champion of the New Reformation, that, 



167 



While he 9poke, each passion dimmed his face, 
Thrice changed with pale ire, envy, and despair, 
Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed 
Him counterfeit — 

For heavenly minds from such distempers foul 
Be ever clear. 

What a contrast did the poor Priest, the logician of the 
mountains, present to this modern Apostle ! With the 
flush of rural health upon his cheek — with the benevalent 
expression of honest good nature upon his face — with all 
the evidence of sincerity impressed upon him — he replied 
with mildness to the charges brought against his truth and 
honour, and exhibited the true spirit of a christian by hold- 
ing forth a tender of amity, and begging that they should 
part in peace. It would be doing Mr. Pope an injustice not 
to say, that his good feelings got the better of his religious 
rancour, and he merged the animosities of the theologian in 
the honest emotions of the man. This was the only circum- 
stance which could promote the cause of true religion in the 
whole of the six days' discussion. It was altogether a most 
fantastic scene. A wandering dealer in inspiration, a sort 
of rider to the great manufacturies of religion in the metro- 
polis, takes it into his head that he can put an end to the 
dispute which has agitated the world, by putting down a 
country Priest to whom he gives a challenge. Mr. Maguire 
is forced into it — two seconds are chosen. — Paulus JEmilius 
Singer, on whose head a tongue of fire seems to have de- 
scended, and to have left its traces behind, is selected by 
Mr. Pope, while the Philosopher of Belfast, from the spirit 
of genuine piety by which he is distinguished, is nominated 
as bottle-holder to St. Peter. The renowned Commodore of 
the Floating Chapel, Admiral Oliver, is appointed Chairman 
to the Protestants, while Mr. O'Connell, who was casually 
there, was much against his will compelled to take a joint 
command with the Admiral. — Thus an honorable competi- 
tion is established between the Navy and the Bar. God for- 
bid that I should attempt to detail the various incidents of 
the theological encounter, I should not, however, omit to 
mention that I was greatly edified by the numerous atten- 
dance of the loyal portion of the bar, among whom were to 
be observed three eminent gentlemen who had signed the 
Anti-Catholic petition under the influence of premature anti- 
cipations. They came to listen to Mr. Pope, in order to 
apply to their calamities the consolations of religion, and, 



168 



indeed it was truly delightful to see, when the orator expa- 
tiated on the spiritual dangers incidental to office, how Mr. 
Serjeant Lefroy turned up the whites of his eyes to Heaven. 
But the person most deserving of note was Doctor Magee, 
who exhibited a strange alternation of feeling, for when a 
blow was made by Mr. Pope at " the Church without a reli- 
gion," the Doctor forgot that the gentleman belonged to " a 
religion without a Church," while, when the Priest knocked 
the mitre from the head of the Establishment, the Doctor 
exhibited no little uneasiness. " Had St. Paul ten thousand 
pounds a year ?" said the Priest. The Doctor gave a start. 
tf Had the teachers of the Gospel two millions of green acres in 
Palestine?" — The Doctor shifted his seat. " Show me an 
authority for the drawing-room and the levee ?" — the Doc- 
tor bit hifr nails. " Shew me a text for your equipages, and 
your banquets, and your chariots, and your pride, and your 
pomp, and your titles, and your tithes, and your cesses, 
and your Church rates, and your fines, and all that system 
of grinding taxation, by which the sacerdotal power and 

splendour are preserved. Shew me" The Priest was 

proceeding in this strain of formidable expostulation, when 
I turned to look at his Grace, and I found that the Arch — 
(what shall I call him?) The Archbishop had disappeared. 
I wish that Mr. Pope would take up this strain of interro- 
gation, and that instead of trying to convince Roman Catho- 
lic peasants to adopt the tenets, he would endeavour to per- 
suade some Protestant Bishops to follow the precepts of the 
Gospel, He ought to be tolerably well satisfied after his 
recent experiment, that he cannot obtain any very conside- 
rable renown by engaging in controversial contentions with 
our clergy. In order, therefore, that he may not be left 
destitute of occupation, I beg leave to point out to him ano- 
ther and a better path to fame, namely, the glorious enter- 
prise of teaching certain High Priests of the Establishment 
to adopt a more apostolic fashion of life ; and if he feels that 
there is no ordinary difficulty in the undertaking, he should 
remember that his merit will be enhanced by the arduous 
obstacles which he will have to encounter. He has admira- 
ble qualifications for this enterprise, and should take care to 
apply them in the most effectual and impressive manner. I 
beg leave to suggest to him the following exploit. Having 
ascertained on what day a Bishop gives a cli rier, let him 
procure a copy of Hudibras, and study with precision the 
exact attire of a genuine teacher of the word. — I would not, 
however, have his hair too closely cropped, after the mati- 



169 



ner of the roundheads, It were better that it should stream 
loosely, wildly, and prophetically, as a type of his mind 
and his opinions. If he were to attend the theatre when 
Mr. Liston performs that part of Maw worm, it might assist 
his fancy, though, I must confess, that nature has done so 
much for him, that he hardly requires any extraneous aid 
in order to make him look the appropriate herald of the 
other world. When he shall have completely rigged himself 
out, and put on the ghastliest aspect of inspiration, let him 
go forth and ascend the steps of his Lordship's palace, and 
having gained admission by a knock louder than a curate's 
tap, let him rush at once to the banquet room, and throw- 
ing open the doors, advance into the midst of the episcopal 
festivity. Let him march, with spectral strides, and when 
every eye shall have been fixed upon him, let him, with his 
deep and sepulchral voice, demand, whether it was after 
such a fashion that the Apostles dined — whether the silver 
and gold, the crimson tapestry, the Asiatic carpet, the 
blaze of splendour, the multifarious luxury, the costly 
wines, the din of revelry, and tumultuous joyance, are in 
accordance with the lessons of poverty and self-denial pre- 
scribed by the Scriptures ; and shaking his phantom hand 
at my Lord the Bishop, let him ask, how, with his pam- 
pered paunch, his bloated cheek, his swimming and volup- 
tuous eye, he would dare to appear before that God, of 
whom he professed himself the minister? But let not Mr. 
Pope stop here. After he shall have uttered his denuncia- 
tions, and turned the Bishop pale, let him walk forth, and 
proceeding to the chambers where he hears the sound of the 
harp and the tabor, let him rush into the centre of the dance, 
and after he shall have cast his lurid eyes around, when the 
sound of the fiddle shall have died away — when the asto- 
nished musicians shall have stood aghast and mute — when 
the Bishop's wife shall have got into hysterics, and the Bi- 
shop's daughters shall have sought refuge in the arms of 
their partners — then let this modern Isaiah exclaim — " Woe 
unto the daughters of Zion, because they are haugfctty, and 
walk with stretched-forth necks and wanton eyes, winking 
and mincing as they go ; therefore the Lord will take away 
the bravery of their tinkling ornaments, and their cauls, and 
their round ties like the moon, the chains, and the bracelets, 
and the ruffles ; the bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, 
and the head-bands, and the tablets and the ear-rings, the 
changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, snd the wim- 
ples, and the crisping-pins, the glasses, and the fine linen, 

Q 



170 



and the hoods, and the veils ; and it shall come to pass, that 
there shall be, instead of well set hair, baldness, and instead 
of a stomacher, a girdle of sack-cloth, and burning instead 
of beauty." It will be strange if Mr. Pope does not succeed 
in putting waltzing, and all other importations of German 
attitude down. But it is not to the interior of the Pontifi- 
cal Palace that he should confine his efforts for a genuine 
Reformation. Let him go forth into the public streets, and 
with all the intrepidity that becomes his heavenly mission, 
denounce the anti-christian abuses that prevail every 
where around us. Let him stand at the door of Kildare- 
street Club, for example, and enquire of the Deans, and the 
Archdeacons, and the Rectors, whether the chambers of 
indigent, the dungeons of the captive, the death-beds of 
the sinful, would not be more appropriate places of ecclesias- 
tical resort — let him, if he sees some wealthy and luxurious 
Dignitary rolling in his carriage with his wife and daugh- 
ters to the Castle, stop the driver, and enquire whether the 
way to heaven is not too narrow for a coach and four. And 
when he sees a certain arch Priest cantering through the 
streets, let him seise his horse by the bridle, and cry out — 
" Good, my Lord, it was not after this fashion that Christ 
entered into Jerusalem on the meek and humble animal with 
which patience and suffering are associated." But it is not 
my intention that Mr. Pope should limit his spiritual achieve- 
ments to this country ; and after he shall have acquired the 
plenitude of such provincial celebrity as Ireland can confer, 
let him set of for London, and on some night when the 
Minister shall have written circular summonses to the Bi- 
shops to attend, let Mr, Pope take his station at the avenue 
of the House of Lords, and as the lawn-sleeved succes- 
sors of the Apostles descend from their gilded chariots to 
the assemblage of the great, and the powerful, and the 
princely of the land, let his voice issue from the vaults of West- 
minster, and let him exclaim as they go by — <c Are you the 
Priests of him who said that his kingdom was not of tin* 
world?" 

I have, I fear, pursued this topic too far, and intermingled 
too much levity with subjects of solemn and awful conside- 
ration ; but I own I cannot help regarding Mr. Pope and 
his fellow-labourers in the New Reformation with a feeling 
of combined censure and derision. It shocks every notion 
of religion and of common sense, that these scatterers of 
the word of God should howl damnation in our ears, be- 
cause we believe somewhat more largely and steadfastly 
than they do, while the opulence of the Established Church, 



171 



for which, at all events, there is less authority than for 
Transubstantiation, passes not only without censure, but 
without comment ! In any observations which I have made 
on the Clergy of the Established Church, I have not refer- 
red to them as a body, but rather alluded to individual 
cases ; and I am free to confess, that recently the Protestant 
Priesthood have undergone, in conduct and morals, a salu- 
tary amelioration. On them I do not mean to cast any re- 
flection ; but I do insist, that the vast wealth possessed by 
individuals is a crying grievance, and repugnant to every 
conception which we can form, from the precepts of its Di- 
vine Author, of the Christian Religion. I therefore do most 
strenuously blame Mr. Pope and his associates, for their in- 
vectives against the Catholic Priesthood and the creed of 
the majority of the people, when the riches of the estab- 
lishment, which are so unequally and disproportionately 
distributed, demand so much retrenchment in their extent, 
and so much modification in their allotment. A wealthy 
Priesthood, whether Catholic or Protestant, is a glaring and 
hideous anomaly ; yet when did we ever hear Mr. Pope or 
Captain Gordon — (that Scotch sower of dissension, who 
scatters the thistle seed of controversy wherever he goes) — 
or when did we hear Mathias or any one of them, deliver a 
single sentence in condemnation of the luxurious endowment 
of the Established Church ? And who can doubt that it is 
utterly anti-christian, and repugnant to the whole tenor and 
spirit of the system of creed and conduct which is incul- 
cated in the New Testament ? I protest it is almost enough 
to drive men into utter infidelity, to hear church-men talk 
from their pulpits of meekness, poverty, self-denial, the 
contempt of riches, the remembrance of death, and the 
worthlessness of life, while they are themselves wallowing 
in the enjoyments of unbounded affluence, and engaged in 
the ardent and unremitting pursuit of the pleasures, the 
pomps, and the vanities of the world. What a mockery it 
is to tell us that the Church is a state engine. Gracious 
heaven ! Is the cross on which our Redeemer died to be 
employed as a prop to sustain the leaning fabric of Govern- 
ment ! They first put the Scriptures into our hands — they 
bid us read them over, and imbue our minds and impress 
our hearts with their tenets, and then, they have the auda- 
city (for is it not the height and top of presumption ?) to 
tell us in the very teeth of every text in the New Tes- 
tament, that the Pontiffs of this poor and humble religion 
are to be invested with political authority, and to stand 
Q % 



172 



upon a level with Princes and Nobles,, and are to have their 
five, their ten, their twenty thousands a-year— that the in- 
ferior clergy are in a regular gradation to be maintained at 
a corresponding cost — that the highest departments in the 
Hierarchy and the Priesthood are to be filled up by the 
sons of Peers and Boroughmongers and that the whole 
business of religion is to be made subservient to the end of 
legislation, and even of court intrigue — that we should be 
told all this, and to make the matter worse, and more in- 
sulting to common decency, and to common sense, that 
we should be told it by the very men who inform us that we 
are in damnable error, that we are misbelievers and 
idolaters, that our clergy are impostors, and that we are 
either infidels or fools — that all this should be said by 
the very men who bid us search the Scriptures, and call 
themselves the servants and the delegates of a crucified 
God — this, I do honestly confess, provokes indignation ; 
makes one stamp the foot, and cry out cc monstrous I" at 
every word ! The Church of Christ, it is said, should lift 
up its head in the midst of courts and palaces. When 
did Christ himself do so ? But I am wrong — He did — he 
stood in a court where he was hailed as king — he was 
clothed in purple— he held the emblem of empire in his 
hand, and he had a crown— but it was a diadem of thorns, 
which was planted in his bleeding temples, and pierced his 

bursting head— and it is in his name that But I have 

done— I would to Heaven that the advocates for reading 
the Scriptures without note or comment would give a 
little reflection to all this. I would that they considered 
whether in the bosom of Protestantism itself, there are not 
abuses which will afford scope for their zeal, before they set 
up as knight errants against Popery, and put us all at vari- 
ance with each other, by dint of their wild and fanatical spe- 
culations. Let them leave the the people and their religion 
alone, and no longer molest us with the absurd jabber 
and the unintelligible jargon of their fantastical theology ; 
and if they are still determined to persevere in their orato- 
rical vocation, let them, in place of wandering through the 
country for the diffusion of acrimony, and the dissemination 
of discord, endeavour to instruct the people in the great 
principles of morality ; let them enforce the practical 
injunctions, rather than contend about the mysterious tenets 
of religion ; let them inculcate habits of industry, and sobri- 
ety, and subordination ; let them reconcile the higher and 
lower classes by habituating the rich to mercy, and the poor 



173 



to patience and submission; let them bind us together in 
the bonds of christian brotherhood and natural affiliation,, 
and never let them forget the " tidings of great joy " with 
which the coming of Christ was told to shepherds abiding 
in the mountains, in which, while the glory of God was 
celebrated, the angelic messengers proclaimed as among the 
results of the event which they were sent to announce from 
heaven, the peace, the tranquility, and the happiness of 
mankind. 



MR. SHEXIAS 



REPLY TO LORD ROSSMORE, 

AT THE 

AGGREGATE MEETING, 

Held lgtk Dec, 1826. 



Lord ROSSMORE, on rising, was received with tumul- 
tuous applause. The Noble Lord said, he thanked them 
most sincerely for the honor which they had done him. 
They would allow him to state, that in being present here 
he did not claim the right to do so, but he claimed it as a 
privilege, having been one of the sixty-nine Peers who 
signed resolutions in their favour — he claimed the privilege 
in consequence of his endeavours, during the last twenty 
years, to render them every service which his humble abili- 
ties could afford. Might he, then, take the liberty to saying 
a few words on the subject for which they were assembled 
here this day ? Knowing as he did the host of talent by 
which he was surrounded, he felt a diffidence how he should 
proceed — he feared that he might fail, or perhaps that he 
might go too far. He had taken a step this day which would 
be condemned by many. But he trusted that this Meeting, 
and their future proceedings, would bear him out in the act. 
In any thing which he would say, he begged to be consi- 
dered more as a witness to facts, than as attempting to 
advocate, their great cause. It rests upon its own intrinsic 
justice, and could not in ajiy way be assisted by him. It 
had been advocated by the greatest men this or any other 
Country ever saw. He hoped he might be allowed to give 
it a negative support, by stating that if he entertained on 
this question opinions different from the great minds that had 
advocated this measure, he would consider himself a hardy 
man indeed. He had been for some time in England — be- 
fore he left it he endeavoured to ascertain the feelings of all 
classes of people there upon this subject, and he now felt it 



175 



his duty to state the result to this meeting. If what he 
should state differed from the opinions of some gentlemen 
present, they would attribute his doing so to the best mo- 
tives. He had ascertained to a certain extent the feelings 
of the English People in this respect, and he would state to 
them what is the real fact. The People of England say, that 
though they approve of the object which the Catholics had in 
view, they do not exactly approve of the measures taken to at- 
tain that object. The enemies of the Catholics are active on 
the other side. It behoves the Catholics, to be extremely cir- 
cumspect. The English forget what good has been done by 
the Catholics ; they forget the blood which has been spilled, 
and the treasure expended, by the Catholics of Ireland. 
Many excellent speeches, on the part of the Catholics, have 
passed away with the day which has given them birth, but 
their errors are anxiously seized upon and published. It 
was in the humble hope that he might contribute to remedy 
any errors into which they might fall, that he took the 
liberty of presenting himself here this day. Their enemies 
are active. An impression has taken possession of the 
public mind of England, that they are violent and intempe- 
rate. On some occasions he has met Englishmen who dis- 
approved altogether of their proceedings, though they 
approved of the great object which they had in view. He 
appeared here as an evidence to go before the eyes of the 
people of England. He should hope that any violence or 
intemperance in debate, which was the act of two or three 
individuals, should not be attributed to the whole body. 
They cannot be responsible for the assertions of a man when 
he is carried away by the torrent of his eloquence. It is 
also said, that those sentiments of certain individuals, have 
never been denied by the Catholics in public documents. 
To that he would answer, that division amongst the Catho- 
lics would be fatal to their cause, and that if such cireum- 
stances had taken place as did not meet with the approba- 
tion of the great body of the Catholics either in England or- 
Ireland, the acts of one, two, or three individuals should not 
be matter of impeachment against the Catholic body in 
general. He stated this here, that it might go as evidence 
before the eyes of the people of England. Whether right 
or wrong, the impression there against the Catholics is such 
as he had stated. Their principal opponents in this country 
are of the Established Church. If there be intemperance 
and violence on the part of the Catholics, they are the 
injured body, and some allowance must be made for them. 
It was not for him in any manner to advocate or to defend 



176 



intemperance. But if the Catholics were guilty of it, they 
had wrongs to complain of. But the party opposed to them 
have no cause to complain. He would say, that the circum- 
stance of party spirit raging so high in Ireland, w T as fright- 
ful evidence before the British Ministry, that it will never 
cease till put an end to by justice on the part of the Legis- 
lature. Even Clergymen of the Established Church have 
interfered in political matters, in a manner which no words 
can describe. They who should solely devote themselves, 
as Christian ministers, to the service of religion, have 
descended from the pulpit, thrown aside the cassock, and 
assumed the military garb of the bigot. It is high time that 
the Legislature, when it perceives party spirit in a countrv 
carried so far, to interfere. He was not acquainted with 
the individuals to whom he had been alluding — one of them 
he had been told, was an excellent character in private life, 
and an able preacher of the gospel — so much the better for 
his (Lord Rossmore's) argument. When persons of that 
description fall victims to the party mania of the day — when 
party spirit runs so high, all should deprecate it, and lend a 
helping hand to extinguish it. The war in which Britain 
was about being engaged, has been alluded to. Now was 
the time for the Catholic body, and he called on them to do 
so, to assume an attitude which would plead strongly in their 
favour in the eyes of the British Legislature — to shew by 
their conduct that they are worthy of the cause which they 
maintain, and of that freedom after which they so fervently 
aspire. By their conduct now they will be enabled to gain 
upon the minds of the English nation, whose generosity and 
benevolence displayed towards other countries, should at 
length be extended towards this. War has been touched 
on. It is hailed as a glorious opportunity to have your 
claims attended to, and your grievances redressed. The 
influence of a meeting like this was undoubted over the 
people of Ireland. Prove that — show your power to the 
English nation and the English minister, not by taking- 
advantage of England's distress, but send forth an address 
to the people of Ireland, and they will obey. They were 
an honest and a warm-hearted people, He (Lord Ross- 
more) had lived amongst them with his family during 
twenty-five years, and they were perfectly indifferent all 
that time whether they locked or bolted their doors by night. 
He would recommend that they would seize this opportu- 
nity and apply it to their advantage — thus employed it will 
speedily hasten their claims. Let them send their orders to 
the people to remain peaceable and quiet. Let them prove 



177 



to that British minister., their most eloquent advocate, who 
has now sent forth the thunder of Briton in arms, that they 
keep this country quiet, and w T ho will say that they will not 
then be emancipated ! Sure he was that he will not be 
disappointed in them. He begged leave to add one word 
more. He would request them to take into consideration 
the situation in which their Protestant friends are placed. 
Let them bear him and their other Protestant friends right 
in advocating their cause. He had for years advocated 
their cause — he had signed the petition in their favor, and 
attended at the great dinner to the friends of civil and reli- 
gious liberty at the Rotunda. He had identified his feelings 
almost with their's. He would never despair of them, 
when he saw one man leap after his brother on the battle- 
ment to support him, though he cut down the bridge behind 
him. This was a moment for healing all differences. He 
did feel enthusiastic in their cause. If what he anticipated 
takes place, their cause will be greatly advanced, The 
golden opportunity presented by war now approaches to 
plant the olive branch in their native land, to expel all 
internal dissensions — that it may take root, and that under 
its shelter all may recline hereafter. In taking his leave of 
the meeting, he hoped he might be allowed to anticipate 
that the hour is fast approaching when the conflicting floods 
of party will meet in a common channel, and be mingled in 
the general w T aters of oblivion, harmony, and peace. The 
Noble Lord sat down amidst great applause. 

Mr, SHEIL rose immediately after Lord Rossmore, and 
said — To Lord Rossmore, for the manly frankness with 
which he has given us advice, we are much indebted. I 
greatly commend him for the candour with which he lias 
:old us that our proceedings were marked with too strong a 
character of violence. But what is violence? I wish it 
were defined. Will Lord Rossmore forgive me for telling 
m anecdote, which contains an argument ? f4 I have been 
wronged," said the client of a celebrated orator of antiquity, 
n a gentle tone, and with much subjugation of gesture. " I 
lo not believe you," said Demosthenes. " Not wronged !** 
ixclaimed the client — " I tell you that my enemy met me in 
he public way, flung me to the earth, and trampled upon 
ne ! I tell you that"— " Hold !" replied the Athenian, " I 
relieve you now — your hand is clenched, your lip quivers, 
rour eye is on fire, you speak and look like a man who had 
)een wronged." Does my Lord Rossmore conceive that we 
should speak in the tone and manner of men who labour 
inder no real grievance ? But enough for the present upon 



178 

this topic. I shall revert to it before I conclude and turn 
from any general consideration of the propriety of our pro- 
ceedings to the great incident which has arrested the atten- 
tion of the whole empire. I pass at once to Portugal. 
Shall Portugal be free? Shall the banner of hberty be 
unfurled from her bleak and blasted hills ? bhall W^nd 
stretch forth her arm, and put her own security and the 
peace of the world into hazard on behalf of a people whose 
manners, habits, and institutions are abhorrent from her 
own ? Shall England, with a view to establish an assimi- 
lation to her own insular forms of government, though laden 
with debt, with her credit on the verge of dissolution, and 
with a national bankruptcy staring her in the face, fly, in 
the spirit of political romance, to arms— or, (to lay aside the 
language of amplification, and put at once the soul-stirring 
question)-shall Portugal be free, and must Ireland contmue 
a slave for ever ? I have, perhaps, thrown myself too pre- 
cipitately, and with too headlong a spring, into the deep and 
dark current of emotion which rises out of the great events 
that are passing about us. I ought, perhaps, to have intro- 
duced this most momentous subject with some calm prefa- 
tory remark-I ought to have pointed out jn their detai i s, 
and enlarged upon the consequences of which the intelli- 
gence recently received in this country is likely to be pro- 
ductive—I ought to have proceeded gradually and delibe- 
rately to shew how important it must be to England, m this 
crisis of our ardent and fevered passions, to recon- 
cile the people of this country, and to consolidate the 
strength of the empire. But it is impossible— there is 
such a concourse of exciting circumstances m the great 
events which are going forward, as to produce almost 
an incapacity of deliberation; and when I am about 
to enter into calm discussion, and to take a wide and ample 
survey of all the political results of these momentous tidings, 
the same question comes back upon me; and while the 
drum repeats its peal, and the trumpet sends forth its blast, 
I cannot refrain from bursting again into the vehement and- 
impassioned interrogatory, and exclaiming— Shall I op 
tugal be free, and shall Ireland still continue a slave? 
Why does England rush again to arms, and precipitate 
herself into the field? WhydoherMinisters bid dehanceto s, 
many awful results? Why does Canning-Canning th 
pupil of Pit, and his successor— why does the eleve of th 
mighty Tory evoke the spirit of republicanism, and arra; 
the genius of jacobinism (as if it were England s on y hope 
against the confederated royalty of the world ? In adnc 



179 



rence to an ancient Treaty, and a worm-eaten contract ; 
from a point of diplomatic chivalry, and a punctilio of fan- 
tastical honor ; and yet, (Gracious God ! what an insult to 
the understanding, and what an outrage to the heart !) at the 
very moment that the Ministers are indulging in these effusi- 
ons of Cabinet sensibility, the cries of seven millions of op- 
pressed, betrayed, and indignant subjects of Great Britain 
are ringing in their ears, and the men, who talk of treaties, 
of compacts, and engagements, and expatiate upon national 
faith, and truth, and honor, persevere in the perpetration 
of a deed of perfidy towards this country, which stands 
without a parallel in the annals of the world. Methuen, 
the Treaty of Methuen is remembered, and Limerick is for- 
gotten. Oh ! shame ! shame ! shame upon them ! Talk of 
treaties indeed ! Talk of compacts ! Talk of national ho- 
nor ! Tell the People of England tkat, however hazardous 
the war, an ancient and faithful, aye, and a Catholic ally 
must be supported ! What did the King say when his 
Message was laid before him ? Did not his hand tremble, 
and was there not a tear in his eye, when the recollection of 
Ireland came upon him. Did not the Prince, by whom Ire- 
land was loved, and who was once adored by Ireland — did 
not the Prince to whom Ireland was faithfully and fondly 
true — did not the man who, if he has a heart in his bosom. 

must have melted at all that he saw and felt amongs us 

Did not the King, when he sat down to con over and annex 
liis regal inicials to a piece of diplomatic sensibility, bring 
back the recollection of Ireland to his mind ? and did he 
not remember that there were Treaties made, and compacts 
sealed, and promises given, and hopes held out, and that 
:hose Treaties had been violated, and that those compacts had 
>een cancelled, and that those promises had been broken, and 
hat all those hopes had been blasted? Portugal, old, decrepid, 
lebauched, vitiated, exhausted, unavailing, and palsied 
Portugal, is to be free, and her liberty is to be accomplished 
it the risk of interrupting the tranquility of the world ; and 
reland, knit as she is to England by ties which nature ap- 
pears to have formed, and which her civil institutions have 
onflrmed — Ireland, which she has incorporated with her 
impire, and which she affects to regard as a noble portion 
)f herself, the country which, in her utmost emergency, sup- 
)lied her witli so many a strong arm, and so many a gallant 
leart — the country which filled her stores with food, her 
egions with valor, and her fleets with enterprise — Ire- 
Mid, who gave her heart's blood as the fountain gives 
Is waters — Ireland, young, devoted, glowing, ardent, 



180 

impasioned, enthusiastic Ireland, is to be I do confess 

the thought unmans me— the recollection of the misfortunes 
of my country, and of my own degradation, and that of 
every man who hears me— the remembrance of ail the 
perfidy, the baseness, the turpitude, the cruelty, the 
utter heartlessness with which my unfortunate country 
has been treated, subdues my spirit, converts angre 
into anguish, and is almost enough to dissolve indig- 
nation into tears— and yet it ought not to be so. No, 
no If tears must be shed, let them be the steam of burn- 
ing hearts, and let the hand that brushes them away be 
clenched. The time gives a better lesson than despair. 
The events which are passing before us, give us many glo- 
rious intimations, and as they advance in their majestic pro- 
gress, they wave and beckon us on, and if I may say so, 
<< Marshall us the way that we are going." It is then in a tone 
of exultation that I reiterate the question, and exclaim, 
« shall Portugal be free, and shall Ireland be a slave for 
ever ? " To whom should that question be addressed ? To 
two parties— to the oppressors and to the oppressed. To 
England 1 would say. " shall Portugal be free, and shall 
Ireland be still a slave ? " Shall treaties be sacred for Por- 
tugal and be nullities for us ? Shall treaties be chains of I 
adamant for Portugal and be ropes of sand for us ? I would 
ask of England whether this be fair dealing ? I would en- 
quire whether it be wise, or reasonable, or even decent ? I 
would ask in a loud tone, and in the language of indignant 
expostulation if it be just— and I would whisper in the ear, 
and inquire if it be safe? 99 I would implore of her to be 
honest, before she is generous, and not to be lavish of free- 
dom and munificent of liberty abroad, while she is plunder- 
ing her own subjects of their franchises, and robbing us of! 
our rights. 13ut it is not to England alone that 1 would 
put that question. I put it to you, and I ask it of your 
heart's core— aye, of your " heart of hearts/' whether it is 
to be borne that at a moment when England is labouring, 
and that for a Roman Catholic People to accomplish their 
freedom— whether it is in human nature to endure— whether 
it be in the power of the soul of man to suffer— But let me 
not press these questions too far, especially as the events to 
which I thus passionately refer (and who could speak of them 
without emotion?) afford ground for high and legitimate 
expectations that England will, of her own wise accord 
with a view to maintain a consistency of conduct and of 
character, adopt a more enlarged and comprehensive policy 



181 

in relation to this country. — With what force, and sheltered 
by what pretence, will it be henceforward urged, that there 
is any thing in the Roman Catholic Religion, at variance 
with the spirit of the British Constitution, when England 
selects a country so utterly and unequivocally Roman Catho- 
lic, as Portugal, in order to make a deposit of those princi- 
ples upon which her own freedom has been raised up, and 
to produce a shadow of herself. If Eldon, or Liverpool, 
or Peel, shall say, that the religion of Ireland is not compa- 
tible with the Constitution of Great Britain, may not Can- 
ning start up and demand, wherefore they become his con- 
federates in favour of Portugal and South America, and 
stand up as antagonists against Ireland ? The conduct of 
England in regard to her Peninsular ally, is not the only 
precedent in her political measures to which we can vehe- 
mently appeal. I perused with a feeling of high sympathy, 
the wise and lofty boast (for magnanimity in politics is ge- 
nerally united with wisdom) to which Mr. Canning recently 
gave utterance, when he referred to his vigorous, determined, 
and noble efforts in favour of the South American Colonies of 
Spain. He admitted that it was to the disparagement of 
England, that French troops had possessed themselves of 
Spain, and confessed his humiliation ; but at the same 
time this eminent and over topping man, exulted in a mea- 
sure of noble retaliation, and appealed amidst the cheers of 
the House of Commons, to the republican institutions which 
he had sustained in another hemisphere. Well may he pro- 
claim in a tone of triumph, the feats of lofty-minded policy 
which it has accomplished in South America. Weil may 
he stretch out his hand and say, that it was ^\ith that hand 
that the cradle of democracy was rocked in the regions in 
which it had been so recently and illustriously born. The 
condition of South America does indeed present a most glo- 
rious spectacle, and offers a prospect of interminable splen- 
dour to the mind of any man who takes a large survey of the 
interests of mankind. It has been said by the great Poet 
of our time, that the genius of the Andes surveys a whole 
hemisphere from his lofty residence. It is from the summits 
of the highest mountains in the world, that the spirit of 
democracy lifts up its sublime and sacred ensign, and it 
may, I think be said, without incurring the charge of exag- 
geration, that liberty has taken its place upon the loftiest 
elevations upon the earth, and, 

u With meteor standard to the wind unfurled, 
Looks from her throne of clouds o'er half the world. " 
R 



182 



But how, it will be asked, perhaps, do I connect the re- 
generation of mankind in the South American Colonies, with 
the subject which we have most at heart, and on which we 
are assembled to deliberate ? Let me not be accused of de- 
viating into a remote search of new topics upon an old and 
worn out theme, when I say, that these matters are not un- 
linked together. The charge against our religion is, that it 
is ill adapted to freedom, and is abhorrent from the free and 
popular part of the Constitution of these Countries. What 
answer do I -give to that imputation ? I do not enter into 
themes and speculations — I do not appeal to remote events, 
and distant illustrations — I do not go back to the republics of 
Italy, and to the ancient constitution of the Catholic Cortes 
of Spain ; but I refer to the events that are passing beneath 
our eyes, of which our senses have the cognizance ; I ap- 
peal to those events which are singing through the world, 
and I put this simple question : " What is the religion of 
South America?" Away, then, with the base and most op- 
probrious imputation, that the people of Ireland are dis- 
qualified for the enjoyment of true liberty, by the princi- 
ples or the practices of their religion. It is false, utterly 
and completely false— and it is a falsehood of which every 
new event that crowds upon us, carries along with it the ir- 
resistible refutation. The people of Ireland disqualified by 
their creed, for the enjoyment of civil freedom! The peo- 
ple of Ireland, cast by the essential spirit of slavery inhe- 
rent in their creed, from the privileges of British Citi- 
zens ! Vile and abominable calumny. But it is not neces^" 
sary to travel beyond the limits of our own country to repel 
it. Where is the man who surveys the present moral and 
political condition of Ireland, who will venture to assert, 
that there exist a spirit of servility in the Irish people ? So 
far from there being any such tendency, perhaps, we have 
been hurried into an almost opposite extreme, and, in our 
struggles for liberty, have acquired a spirit, that goes be- 
yond the golden mean of constitutional independence, and 
scarcely becomes the mixed and composite order of Go- 
vernment which belongs to the civil institutions of the coun- 
tries in which we live, I do fearlessly assert, that the 
whole body of the Catholic population of Ireland, includ- 
ing the aristocracy, clergy, aye, and the humblest peasan- 
try in this country, are actuated by emotions which do not 
barely render them worthy, but have infused into their 
hearts and souls an intrepid determination, and a fearless 
resolution to be free. And here let me be permitted to re- 
vert to the observations of my Lord Rossmore, and inquire 



of him from whence that improved condition in the political 
morals of the people is derived ? Whence has originated 
that ardour and enthusiasm which are displayed in every 
part of Ireland ? Whence has arisen that spirit which 
overthrew Leslie, and Forteseue, and Beresford ? Whence 
has been derived that power of the people, of which Mo- 
naghan, with which he is familiar, presents such noble re- 
sults ? I answer — from that violence, of which he com- 
plains. The Catholic Association is the source from which 
all these important consequences have flowed. It was ne- 
cessary to rouse and excite the people, to awaken in them 
a consciousness of their rights, and the courage to assert 
them. It was with that view that vehement harangues were 
uttered, and flung like flaming torches among the people. 
I, therefore) do not coincide in his views, and in an- 
swer to all that may be urged against the interference 
by either our antagonists or supporters, I triumphantly ap- 
peal to the union of the Clergy, the Aristocracy, and the 
People — the number of petitions which are pouring in from 
every parish in the country — the readiness with which money 
is subscribed by even the lowest order of the people — the 
rapid progress which the census in making — and, above all, 
to the insurrection of the Catholic tenantry against their 
Orange masters in every part of Ireland. Independently, 
also, of these considerations, there has been a most noble 
and lofty spirit excited amongst the whole mass of an enor- 
mous and daily encreasing population. Are those emo- 
tions of a temporary or evanescent nature ? The feel- 
ings of the people are under the influence of a steady and 
continuous principle of agitation, and as Lord Byron has 
expressed it : — 

" Roll like the waves before the settled wind/' 



R 2 



MR. SHEIL'S 



SPEECH 

AT AN 

AGGREGATE MEETING, 

HELD 

ON THE 7TH SEPTEMBER, 1826. 



THE principal object in calling this meeting, is to de- 
vise measures for the relief of the forty shilling freeholders, 
and it is sufficient to state that object, in order to impress 
you with the importance of the occasion on which we are 
assembled. I rise at the very opening of the discussion, 
because I have been instrumental in summoning you toge- 
ther. Nothing excepting a conviction of its paramount ne- 
cessity, would have induced me to exert myself for the pur- 
pose of procuring this meeting, when so many of the per- 
sons who take an active share in our proceedings are absent 
from Dublin. But when the work of ruin and of oppres- 
sion is going on — when the severest process of the law is in 
full and active operation—when from Waterford, from 
Louth, from Cavan, and from Westmeath, a call for suc- 
cour is so earnestly made— when I feel that relief, in order 
to be effectual, must not only be prompt, but immediate ; 
in one word, when the cries of the forty shilling freeholders 
are in my ear?, I cannot listen to any cold-hearted disquisi- 
tions upon the inexpediency of meeting at this particular 
season, nor do 1 require that the sun should be in any par- 
ticular sign of the zodiac, in order to do an act of common 
humanity and justice. It is enough for me to know, that 
the high-minded peasants, who have bidden defiance to the 
" tyrants of their fields," are under the active infliction of 



185 



calamity, to make me overlook every consideration of time 
and place — to dismiss all legal quibbles from my mind, and 
if I may so say, rush through every impediment to their 
relief. I cannot allow common humanity to be frustrated 
by a forensic disputation, and obvious justice to be delayed 
by legal sophistications. I will not take up an Act of Par- 
liament, in order to determine whether it is safe to be ho- 
nourable, and whether humanity is made a misdemeanour 
by the law. I will not ask, whether the application of the 
Rent to the succour of the freeholders may be tortured into 
a violation of the statute, but I will inquire of my own 
heart, whether it would not be utterly base and abominable 
to have excited the forty-shilling freeholders into a revolt 
i gainst their superiors, and then leave the wretches, whom 
we have wrought into acts of desperate patriotism to the 
compassion of the landlords and of the winds. These, Sir, 
ere my feelings, and I think that I may add, that there is 
not a man in the Catholic Body who does not participate in 
them. There is, in truth, no difference of opinion, respect- 
ing the propriety of doing every thing in our power for the 
relief of the freeholders, and the only question relates to 
the means through which assistance ought to be afforded. 
I trust that the series of resolutions which will be proposed 
to-day, and which 1 have taken very great care in framing, 
will meet the views of the most adverse to the application 
of the Old Catholic Rent. I am very sensible that disunion 
amongst ourselves is to be avoided, and if once we separate 
upon a single topic, it is not improbable that our differences 
might excite a spirit of acrimony and contention, which 
would extend to all our discussions, and ultimately render 
us, as it did before, the scorn of our enemies, and ob- 
jects of compassion to those who wish us well. An inti- 
mation lias been sent from Waterford, that the Old Rent 
should remain untouched. It is somewhat remarkable that 
nearly at the same time a demand for £400. should have 
been made by Waterford, in answering which, the whole of 
the New Rent has been exhausted. Yet, I am the first to 
acknowledge, that the greatest respect ought to be attached 
to any expression of their wishes, which may come from 
the citizens of Waterford; and we should endeavour to 
accommodate ourselves as much as possible to their views, 
The resolutions have been drawn in that spirit. The first 
of them recommends, in case of necessity, (but not 
otherwise) an application of the Old Rent. It distinctly 
limits the application to a contingency. I think, that 
from these observations, it is scarcely possible that pay man 
R 2 



186 



should dissent. Let me put this plain question, in order to 
illustrate the propriety of the measures in contemplation ; 
Suppose that the New Rent should be inadequate to the ef- 
fectual succour of the forty-shilling freeholders, and that 
we should be informed that a certain sum was necessary, in 
order to rescue them, in any particular district, from their 
landlords. Will any man say that rather than touch the 
Old Rent, we should abandon the freeholders ? I am con- 
vinced that there is no man here with so bad a heart. If a 
deputation were to be sent from Monaghan to Dublin, and 
the delagates of the freeholders were to come forward and 
declare that a sum of £500. was requisite, and must be im r 
mediately advanced, what answer should be given to them ? 
Should we say, that the Old Rent is inviolable ; that it is 
the Ark of our cause, and that no hand should be laid up- 
on it ? Should we answer, that the New Rent was the 
only fund out of which an Act of justice could be perform- 
ed, and that the forty-shilling freeholders must wait until 
the public coffers shall be replenished ? But, Sir, this is 
not mere hypothesis. There are actually in this assembly 
three Priests from Monaghan, and two Presbyterians, who 
have been deputed to enforce the resolution which I pro- 
pose. They will tell you, (I leave it to them who have had 
the occular proof) how much calamity has been, and is still 
being inflicted on their county. I shall venture to illustrate 
my views of our situation by a comparison. What would 
you think if the governor of a besieged city, in which there 
was an old and abundant well, were to direct, in a time of 
great exigency and drought, that the chief fountain should 
be sealed up, and that until a new well was complete, none 
of the soldiers should be allowed to drink ? If the soldiers 
were to come hot from the thickest fire of the enemy, and 
exhausted by wounds and sufferings, what would you think 
of the governor who said, <c Go drawfrom the new shaft which 
has been sunk for water ?" The soldiers might justly re- 
ply, " There is no water in it yet, and while it is sinking 
we shall die of thirst. Do, pray, good governor, give us 
a drop from the old fountain ; enough only to save us from im- 
mediate death — it is all we require." Have I in this illus- 
tration presented a very unfair similitude, and are there not 
some amongst us who give a reply to the forty-shilling free- 
holders of a very analogous kind ? We tell them to resort 
to the New Rent and to wait until it shall be collected. In 
the interval, their cattle are driven, they are ejected by Civil 
Bill, they are expelled from their houses, and they are reduced 
to starvation — what then is the proposition which I make ? 



187 



Dig the new well, make every effort to render it abundant, 
deep and full ; don't unseal the old fountain as long as there 
is a drop in the new source. But if the latter is exhausted, 
or if there be any delay in the rising of the water, then open 
the old fountain, and give out an adequate supply. But let 
me abandon the language of parable, and in a case which 
hardly requires any enforcement, refrain from resorting to 
these elaborate arguments in order to satisfy your reason, or 
to awaken a just sense of duty in your minds. There is, 
however, one objection to the application of the Old 
Rent, which as it has (to my surprise I confess) made an 
impression on some good-meaning persons, deserves to be 
encountered. It is said that an Aggregate Meeting has no 
power to allocate the Old Rent to any such purpose. When 
people are anxious to avoid doing any particular thing, they 
are often a little too astute in devising reasons to justify 
their conduct. If no part of the Old Rent can be voted 
away, in order to assist the forty- shilling freeholders, how 
has it happened that so much of it has been disposed of upon 
other occasions, for other and very distinct purposes ? How 
does it happen that when salaries are to be given to public 
officers — when large sums are to be paid for newspaper 
advertisements, and other expences of a similar nature are 
to be defrayed, no objection is made to the plenitude of 
power vested in an Aggregate Meeting. But when an act, 
which wisdom and honour concur in recommending, is to be 
performed, the authority of an Aggregate Meeting is, for the 
rirst time, disputed — and we are told that for all ether pur- 
poses such an assembly is omnipotent, but that the relief of 
the freeholders is an excepted case. Are not meetings of 
this description habitually designated as " the assemblies of 
the Catholics of Ireland and have they not uniformly 
exercised the powers which that designation would imply ? 
The truth is, that there cannot be an} 7 other organ of the 
national sentiment employed, but an assembly of this nature, 
and it would be wholly impossible to carry on the public- 
business, unless a meeting which every individual is at 
liberty to attend, could act on behalf of the whole of Ireland. 
Do not the petitions of the Catholics emanate from Aggre- 
gate Meetings — and are not resolutions constantly passed at 
these assemblies, in which the same national authority is 
assumed ? And what is to be done ? Are the counties to 
be called together ? What, in the mean time, is to become 
of the forty-shilling freeholders ? I shall ask another ques- 
tion, which may be equally well applied to the suggestion 
that they should be relieved out of the New Rent. What 



188 



Is to befal them, if a deficiency should take place ? Another 
argument has been urged, which is refuted by fact. It is 
said that the collection of the New Rent will be impeded by 
the application of the Old, The answer which I shall give 
to that suggestion appears to me to be triumphant. The 
County of Louth has passed a resolution in favour of the 
application of the Old Rent, if necessary. But, I hold in 
ray hand a series of resolutions, passed on the 6th of this 
month, at a meeting in which Sir Edward Bellew was in the 
Chair, by which Committees have been named for seven 
parishes, in order to raise the Catholic Rent, and the Priests 
of each parish are placed at the head of their respective 
Committees, You thus perceive the same County calls for 
the application of the Old Rent, if necessary, and takes the 
most active measures in order to raise a new fund. And, 
observe, the money is only required by way of loan. I also 
received, this morning, a letter from a most respectable man, 
and who has a very large fortune in Louth, (Mr. Thomas 
Fitzgerald, of Fainvally) inclosing me a considerable sub- 
scription of the New Rent, but at the same time approving 
strongly, in the event of necessity, of the allocation of a part 
of the old fund to the freeholders' relief. The deputies 
from Monaghan will inform you, that a resolution to the 
effect which I have mentioned, will inspire the people of 
that County with the strongest confidence, and will give a 
fresh zeal to their exertions in the collecting of the new 
fund. In truth, the main object of the resolution is to 
impart a perfect trust to the people, and infuse into them a 
confidence in the integrity of those who are invested with 
the management of the national money. A further objec- 
tion has been urged, which, if it were founded in fact, 
would deserve attention. It is grounded on the supposition 
that the persecution has ceased. This is certainly not the 
case. It has been stated, that in Monaghan tyranny had 
relaxed its energies. There cannot be a more eggregious 
mistake. I am authorized by the deputies from that County 
to state, that oppression is in full activity. The series of 
miseries detailed to me, would move the feelings of a man 
the least prone to sensibility. In Louth, the amiable and 
highly spiritualized Lord Roden has exhibited a practical 
exemplification of the effects of Bible reading upon his 
heart, and has commenced the work of retribution. It is to 
be wondered, at, that a man whose mind should be " as 
smooth as the brow of Jesus," to use an expression of 
Jeremy Taylor, should have shown himself so susceptible to 
the worst passions by which our miserable nature is afflicted. 



189 



l repeat it, then, the hand of oppression is yet uplifted in 
Louth. We must paralyse it before it descends — we must 
fiy to the succour of the people. With respect to Water- 
ford, the bare fact of that County having demanded £400, 
establishes, beyond all question, that persecution is not at 
an end. I am assured, that in Westmeath the rebellious 
tenantry are suffering the greatest hardships, and we are 
well aware of the measures of severity adopted in the 
County of Cavan. That election was remarkable for a 
disclosure of character in a person who was once notorious 
for his patriotism, (for he has been hurried by the impetu- 
osity of youth, into a dangerous extravagance of political 
virtue,) but has since given proof that a chivalrous love of 
country was not the domineering passion of his mind. His 
great wealth is the result of his own labour, and affords a 
proof how little intellect is required to take advantage of 
some fortunate accident, and to become a rich man. When 
he had acquired great wealth, he was told that liberalism in 
politics and in religion, was a proof of mental superiority, 
and in order to pass for a philosopher, he continued a 
patriot for some time. At length, he purchased an estate 
in Cavan, and observed, that all persons of the Patrician 
class were addicted to the principles of ascendancy. While 
he remained in Dublin he had the countenance of some men 
of rank as a warrant for his liberality, but in Cavan there 
was hardly a gentleman who was not a good Protestant. A 
trait of character which had not been formerly discovered, 
at lenth appeared in this worthy burgher, who may be 
designated as the " Sir Balaam * of Merchant* s-quay. He 
became anxious for a reputation for good breeding, and 
found a terrible obstacle to his ambition in his former poli- 
tical addictions. His efforts at Patrician elegance were 
ineffectual. " The yellow clay still broke through the 
plaister of Paris/' At a ball, which was not long ago given 
in Cavan, Lady Lucy M'Swadlum, and Miss Celestina Far- 
intosh observed, that the gestures of Mr. — — were in a 
state of continual rebellion against propriety, and his limbs 
were insurgents against grace. Finding himself in this de- 
plorable condition, he consulted a certain Noble Lictor, who 
is distinguished for a prodigal use of the *• Fasces/' and 
inquired what in the world he should do to become genteel ? 
"Whip me a boy or two, (said his Lordship,) or at all events, 
turn Orangeman. It is a passport into good society, and 
will make as good a gentleman of you as most of us/' It was 
with some compunction of spirit that Sir Balaam ac- 
ceded to this process of transformation. His old recol- 



190 



lections, the reminiscenses of Bridge-street, and the spec- 
tres of his friends, with halters about their necks, came 
upon him. But at length his love of country prevailed, 
and he made a sort of compromise, by determining to play 
the patriot in Dublin, and the Orangeman in Cavan. — 
Did any of you ever see the " Siege of Belgrade ?" Do 
you remember Yusef ? If ever Lady Lucy gets up a pri- 
vate play, " Sir Balaam " should perform the worthy ci- 
tizen of Belgrade, who becomes Turk and Christian with 
such a philosophic facility of transition, by her Ladyship's 
particular desire. When " Sir Balaam " had come to the 
determination to abandon his old principles, he resolved to 
display no ordinary alacrity in his new vocation, and saw 
that at the election, an opportunity was offered to him for 
the manifestation of his zeal. He exhibited all the enthusiasm 
of apostacy. He was peculiarly " genteel ;" in ether words, 
in harshness towards his miserable dependants, he surpassed 
the more legitimate Orangemen of Cavan. Bring up the 
cattle," was his familiar phrase at the hustings. " Pray, 
Sir, what cattle?" said his agent. " The freeholders, to be 
sure," replied Sir Balaam, astonished at his not knowing, 
that he referred to the useful and industrious class to which 
he himself originally belonged. The cattle, however, got 
restive, and Sir Balaam's reputation for gentility was much 
injured. This was a wound in the most vital point, and ac- 
cordingly he has been relentless towards the wretched men 
who refused to sacrifice their consciences to his pleasure. — 
But enough of him. I would not, I protest to God, for all 
his hoarded thousands, and ten times his estate, be capable 
of any of the acts of oppression with which he has taken 
vengeance on his unhappy tenants. I would not take the 
heart of such a man into my bosom, for all that fifty years 
of accumulation has piled in his coffers. I thank God, how- 
ever, that the wretches on whom he trampled, were not left 
without succour. From whom did it come ? It is with a 
most pleasurable sensation — it is with that feeling of thril- 
ling admiration with which a noble action is always told and 
heard, that I am about to recount to you an example of 
lofty and spirit-stirring virtue. I pray you to attend to it, 
lor it does good to the heart to hear such things. There are 
two Priests in that county, the name of one of whom in 
Egan, and the other Reilly. They belong to that class of 
our Clergy who fall within Goldsmith's definition of opu- 
lence, and pass for " rich with forty pounds a-year." — They 
had out of the humble contribution of their flocks, in the 
lapse of many years, saved a sum of about £200. each, and 



191 



when they heard that " Sir Balaam 7 was grinding his te- 
nants to powder, these teachers of the Gospel — these hum- 
ble imitators of Him by whom Christianity was first 
propagated through the world, gathered their flocks about 
them and said, " you gave this money to us — you are now 
in want and misery — we come to give it back to you — we 
look for no re-payment but in Heaven. " " The Lord hath 
given, and the Lord hath taken away — Blessed be the name 
of the Lord," I do not wonder that you hear this statement 
of a most honourable fact with enthusiasm; I shall not attempt 
to praise these humble and unostentatious ministers of God. I 
should travel in vain through all the language of panegyric 
— I should exhaust the whole repository of encomium. — 
Glorious and lofty minded men, you do not seek the praise 
of the world : you ask for no tribute of applause such as 
we can confer — your own hearts supply the exalted consci- 
ousness of surpassing virtue, and the eye of that God, by 
which those hearts are read, rests in pleasure upon two ob- 
jects of his approbation as noble as ever issued from his 
hands. Shall we permit examples of this kind to be 
lo3t upon us? Shall we allow the poor Priests to give 
away their miserable pittance, and to leave themselves 
destitute in their old age ? They make no claim upon 
us, but shall we take advantage of the silence of bene- 
volence, and allow them to remain unpaid. God for- 
bid, and God forbid that we should abandon the free- 
holders, and permit the wretches upon whom we have en- 
tailed so much disaster, to remain without hope ? For God 
Almighty's sake let us not do any thing so base, so degrad- 
ing, so utterly vile and bad as this ! But independently of 
these considerations, let us remember, that even common 
policy requires that we should remove every feeling of dis- 
trust from the people, and that we should thoroughly con- 
vince them of a determination to give them effectual relief. 
If they are not saved from immediate oppression, with what 
face can we hereafter appeal to the spirit of patriotism, of 
which they have given such noble manifestations, and call 
upon them to perform the same part ? Will they not justly 
say to us : " You worked upon our passions ; you impelled us 
into rebellion against our landlords ; you invoked us in 
the name of our country and of our religion, and you 
abandoned us ; and, with the means of succour in your 
power, you refused to stretch out your hands to save us ! 
You told us that we must wait, and that the time was not 
come, and that the Old Rent was a sacred fund ; you put 



192 



us off with excuses, and quibbles, and you left us and 
our wives and children to perish/' It is therefore our 
interest, with a view to preserve the use of the great 
engine which we have obtained, to strain every nerve 
in the support of the peasantry. However familiar the ci- 
tation of the poet's celebrated lines may be, they cannot be 
more appropriately applied than to the freeholders of Ire- 
land, and we may justly say, — 

C4 A bold yeomanry, their country's pride, 

u When once destroyed, can never be supplied." 

The peculiar applicability of the quotation rescues it from 
the triviality of common place. Never, indeed, can the 
spirit which has been awaked be supplied, if once we allow it 
to be extinguished. If the flame which has been raised 
through this country be once put out, every effort to re- 
kindle it, will be idle. But let it be only kept alive, and 
how noble and wide an illumination will it diffuse. How 
admirable will be the results upon the moral character of 
the people ! With a sense of independence they will acquire 
that sense of dignity which is the source of virtue ; and the 
meanest in the country — 

" W T ill learn to venerate himself a man." 

That high consciousness of their personal and political 
rights, which imparts so much elevation to the character of 
the English people, will grow up amongst them. They 
will no longer bow down before their landlords as if they 
were not compounded out of the same earth, and were not 
to be tried by the same God. Those exhibitions of degrad- 
ing tyranny, which are so dishonourable to human nature, 
will no longer appear, and the aristocracy of Ireland will 
be themselves participators in the great national improve- 
ment. The representation of the country will be thoroughly 
reformed, and no man whose claims do not rest upon public 
virtue, will take his seat in the House of Commons. Catho- 
lic Emancipation is not the only measure which would result 
from this glorious liberation of the people, but a new prin- 
ciple would be grafted upon the government, and a fresh 
supply of life and vigour would be infused into the Consti- 
tution. These are splendid, but not visionary projects. — 
Their realization depends to a great extent upon the course 
which we ourselves adopt. Not an instant ought to be lost 
in affording them assistance. It would be cruel and inhu« 



19* 



man to bid them look to the New Catholic Rent, and let 
months pass over their heads without relief. Wait till No- 
vember, indeed! Alas! their distresses are^at present suf- 
ficient to excite our commisseration, without waiting for the 
additional incentive to compassion which would be given 
by the winter wind. The spectacle of calamity which is al- 
ready exhibited is sufficiently moving to awaken our sensi- 
bility, and we ought not to tarry until the rain shall descend 
on their beds of straw, and the storm shall howl through 
their hovels, and their naked children shall stand shivering 
in groups of misery, with frozen hands and faces, at their 
doors. Is there a man amongst us w T ho, with such an anti- 
cipation of calamity before his mind, and who forms even 
the faintest image of the wretchedness of these poor peo- 
ple, will hesitate for an instant to fly to their relief? — 
What ! shall we permit these miserable wretches and their 
families to be turned out of their habitations without Are, or 
food, or raiment? Shall we allow them to be cast forth to 
the mercy of the elements, and to be flung upon the public 
way to die ? I put it to myself — I made use of every effort 
which I could employ to induce the peasantry to rebel 
against their landlords in the county of Louth. If, in the 
course of the succeeding winter, I should have occasion to 
pass through that county, and I should meet a wretched 
man with his family in the public, road, how should I feel, 
if, after asking him what could have brought him to such a 
pass, he told me, that " he was a forty-shilling freeholder, 
that he had voted for the country, and that the country had 
left him on the road — that he did not care for himself, but 
that when he looked upon his children, and on the mother 
of them, his heart was broken, and that the Association 
had desired him to wait for the New Rent, and to starve 
upon a point of law?" Let me not be accused of exagge- 
ration. Instead of heightening the pictures of distress by 
any fictitious colouring. I have no pencil with which I can 
do justice to the melancholy reality. You will hear from the 
worthy clergymen who are at present in this meeting, how 
much has already been suffered, and how much, it is pro- 
bable, must be still endured. In the name of every gener- 
ous and honourable feeling — for the sake, not only of the 
poor freeholders, but for your own sakes, and as you value 
your own dignity and character, and prize the future inde- 
pendence of your country, come forward, and by one si- 
multaneous exclamation, signify your assent to a measure 
which will not only have the effect of rescuing the peasantry 
from ruin, but of rescuing your own character from i&rto- 
S 



194 



miny and disgrace. Do it in the name of justice — do it 
in the name of humanity — do it in the name of Ireland, and 
I trust I do not take his name in vain, when I say, do it in 
the name of God. 



RECONCILIATION 

BETWEEN 

LANDLORD AND TENANT. 



WESTMEATH QUARTER SESSIONS, 

Moate, October 12, 1826. 

GREAT interest was excited at the Westmeath Sessions, 
held for the district of Moate, by the number of civil bill 
ejectments brought by Sir Thoma9 Chapman, to eject the 
freeholders of his estate, who had voted in the late contest 
against his desire. Sir Thomas Chapman, who is a very 
extensive proprietor, had divided a part of his property into 
small tenements, with a view to increase his influence at the 
election ; he was, how r ever, deserted by many of his tenan- 
try ; and, in order to rid his estate of persons who had not, 
in his mind, fulfilled the tacit contract into which they had 
entered, he took summary proceedings against them. Many 
were served with ejectments for one penny ; the effect of 
such ejectments would have been, to crush the tenant under 
the costs, which, on every hearing, would amount to one 
pound twelve shillings. The landlord considered this pro- 
ceeding perfectly justifiable, as the end of it was, to remove 
the obnoxious individuals, who had not manifested that 
compliance with Sir Thomas's wishes which was expected. 
The popular party remonstrated against what they regarded 
as an effort to obtain a dominion over the consciences of his 
tenants. The consequence of this collision w r as, an unusual 
excitation of the public mind. The Court was crowded by 
the gentry of the county, and by great numbers of the 
lower orders. Mr. Sheil attended as Counsel on behalf of 
all the freeholders who had been served with ejectments, 
and Mr. Cummins was employed specially for Sir Thomas 
Chapman. 
S 2 



196 



On the first case being called on, Mr. Sheil begged, 
before the Counsel for the plaintiff went into his statement, 
to be allowed to make a proposition, which, he earnestly 
hoped, would be received in the spirit of conciliation in 
which it would be made. 

The CHAIRMAN — You are, of course, at liberty, Mr. 
Sheil, to make any proposition you may deem advisable. 

Mr. SHEIL — I rise, then, in order to propose what I am 
convinced it is equally the interest of Sir Thomas Chapman 
and my clients, to make the basis of an adjustment between 
th em. I am not deterred from making such a proposition 
by the formidable preparation which I perceive on the part 
of Sir Thomas Chapman, and in which no ordinary spirit of 
resentment is evinced towards the horde of miserable beings, 
for whose very existence I may be said to plead, Look at 
the heap of civil bill ejectments which lie before me, most 
of which are brought for inconsiderable sums, which it can- 
not be the object of Sir Thomas Chapman to recover. The 
tables of this Court have never exhibited a mass of litigation 
which can be paralleled to this. 

[Here Mr. GUNNING, the Attorney for Sir Thomas 
Chapman, rose and said, he hoped Mr. Sheil did not refer 
to him ; he had been much blamed for merely acting in his 
professional character ; he had done no more than discharge 
the duty which he owed to his client.] 

The CHAIRMAN — I take this opportunity of stating, in 
consequence of some reflections which have been thrown 
on Mr. Gunning elsewhere, that I have known him for 
sixteen years whilst he practised in this Court, and that I 
never knew an instance in which he did not conduct himself 
with the most perfect propriety. 

Mr. SHEIL — I am greatly misinterpreted by Mr. Gun- 
ning, if he conceives that 1 intend, either directly or by 
insinuation, to throw the least reflection upon him ; so far 
from being disposed to do so, I am free to admit that he has 
only acted as every professional man is, in some measure, 
bound to do, by obeying the instructions of the Gentleman 
by whom he is employed, Sir T. Chapman has a right to 
his rents, and when he has recourse to the remedies provided 
by the statutes, his agent cannot be condemned for lending 
him that professional aid which he might readily have found 
elsewhere. I beg to assure Mr. Gunning, that, from all I 
have heard of him, I entertain for him a sentiment of 
respect and of esteem. I do not mean to speak in the lan- 
guage of reproof either of Mr. Gunning or of any other 



197 



person. I have risen with far different views than to irri- 
tate the passions of those around me ; and I am well aware 
that it is not by exciting any acrimonious feelings, that I 
shall be likely to prevail in the honest and conciliating pro- 
position which I shall take upon myself to make. If I 
referred to the mass of civil bill ejectments which are piled 
upon the table, it was only to impress upon those whom I 
am addressing, a sense of the very peculiar circumstances 
under which not only the poor freeholders, but a baronet of 
great fortune and distinguished rank is situated. It is 
impossible that he should adopt these proceedings without 
reluctance. However exasperated he might have been, in 
the first moments of disappointment, he cannot persevere in 
anger against these miserable defendants, for whom some 
allowance ought to be made. He cannot — no man can 
contemplate all the misery that must ensue from a vindictive 
perseverance in this system of retribution against his tenan- 
try, without pain. That hundreds of wretches should be 
turned, with their families, upon the public road, and that 
they should be driven in the winter, with their wives and 
poor little children, from their hovels, is most painful to 
think upon ; and I own that I feel a more than ordinary 
anxiety to succeed in the proposition, or rather in the 
entreaty which I am going to make in their behalf. Without 
reference to these considerations of common humanity, 
which I do assure you I am now most unaffectedly and 
sincerely urging, let me be forgiven for adding, that the 
public peace is concerned. W hat are all the wretched and 
starving men to do, when they are left without a roof over 
their heads ? What will become of them when the fierce 
passions which belong to the ardent temperament of our 
country shall have been stimulated by famine and despair ? 
What are all these fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers to 
do ? I do not, therefore, exaggerate when I say, that the 
public tranquillity is at stake. Having said this much, 
(and I hope 1 shall be forgiven for so doing)— 

The CHAIRMAN— Go on, Mr. Sheil, I cannot interfere 
in enforcing any proposition ; but I hope that any fair one 
will not be rejected. 

Mr. SHEIL — I owe an apology to the Bench for this 
deviation from the course which is usually adopted on those 
occasions ; but I do really feel most strongly and deeply on 
this subject. It is better, however, that I should at once 
make my offer. The costs will overwhelm the tenants; 
they will be ruined by their accumulation. Now, in the 

o 3 



198 



name of common humanity, with a view to the peace of the 
country, in which every one here is concerned, and, let me 
add, in order to restore Sir Thomas Chapman to that place 
in the people's regard, which it is impossible that he should 
not desire to hold, (no wise man can despise the opinion of 
the public,) I ask him, and those who are acting for him, 
to give up the costs, and every shilling of the rent will be 
at once discharged. 

Mr. GUNNING — I wish this proposition had been 
made before we came into court, and special Counsel for 
Sir Thomas Chapman had been retained for the Sessions. 
Great expense has already been incurred. Five shillings 
have been paid on the entry of each ejectment; I* do not 
speak of any costs of mine, but the money out of pocket is 
considerable ; this offer comes on us quite by surprise. 

Mr. SHEIL — We have now the means of paying the 
rent, which we had not before ; but let not an offer, made 
in a sincere spirit, be rejected on account of its not having 
been previously proposed. Sir Thomas Chapman's wealth 
is too great to ailow him to give a moment's thought to the 
expences already incurred ; those expences would ruin his 
tenants, but cannot weigh upon him ; he will not miss 
them : and be it remembered, what advantage may be pur- 
chased by an act of forbearance and of magnanimity. It is 
most desirable for both parties that a reconciliation should 
take place between the landlord and tenant ; I quite feel 
the importance of that reconciliation to my own clients, and 
how much it is their interests that those bonds by which 
they are connected with their superior, should not be lace- 
rated and torn asunder. The vengeance of Sir Thomas 
Chapman may be baffled in a single instance ; but although 
they should escape him on this occasion by legal objections, 
(and I can see a great number on which I expect to insist 
with success,) yet, at least, the rent must be paid, w ith some 
costs, and a repetition of the same system may be resorted 
to. 

Mr. CUMMINS— 1 am Counsel for Sir Thomas Chap- 
man, and I own it gives me the greatest satisfaction to find, 
that in pressing this proposition, my Learned Friend, Mr. 
Sheil, has taken so sound, so rational, and so constitutional 
a view of the interests of his clients, I attach much value 
to his sentiments, because I regard him as standing here 
as the representative of a great body, and, in some mea- 
sure, as a public functionary. He has spoken as every law- 
yer ought to speak, when he said, the bonds between land- 



199 



lord and tenant ought not to be dissolved, and insisted upon 
the advantages of a relation, which ought not to be inter- 
rupted. Sir Thomas Chapman is not here, but I am con- 
vinced that if he were, he would be induced to take the 
proposition into his consideration, from the manner in 
which it has been made, I have consulted with his At- 
torney and his Land Agent, and I will take upon myself 
to say, that if Mr. Shields clients will pay half the costs, 
we will accept the rent, and let there be an end to the 
matter. 

Mr. SHEIL — I trust that Mr. Cummins will not force 
me into any political controversy, from which, upon a pro- 
per occasion, I will never shrink. Let me not be misun- 
derstood when I said, that I considered the amicable rela- 
tion between landlord and tenant as desirable ; I laid down 
an abstract proposition, without referring to any particular 
case. It is obviously the interest of both landlord and te- 
nant, that neither party should regard the other with an 
evil eye ; but I think it my duty to add, that however de- 
sirable the permanence of that relation may be, yet there 
may be cases in which it must yield to circumstances, and 
in which a sacrifice of principle may be demanded of the 
tenant by the landlord, which he ought not to make ; but 
iet us not enter into subjects which might lead to angry 
disquisitions My object is to heal, not to exasperate, 
wounds which are stiil fresh and green. I am as prompt 
;is any man, upon fit occasions, to throw myself into poli- 
tical debate, and to assert my opinions without qualification 
or restraint ; but this court-house is not an appropriate are- 
na for political contentions, and the fiercest combatant, on 
entering the sanctuary of justice, should sheath his sword. 
Let us, then, keep clear of topics which have, indeed, been 
only slightly glanced at, but which, if pursued, can only 
have the effect of impeding that reconciliation in which I 
have been met half way. But, for God's sake, let us not 
fly off upon such a miserable difference as the halving of 
the costs. Let not Sir T. Chapman weigh a little gold dust, 
[if 1 may use the phrase) against all the benefit which will 
result from his total abandonment of his claims for legal ex- 
oenses. He will mar every thing by a paltry demand. — 
We are not now making a bargain and splitting differences, 
>r endeavouring to combine the honour with the economy 
>f benevolence. He will gain no credit if he still insists 
ipon a moiety of his costs ; it will be said he only relented 
jy halves. Mercy is not to be broken into halves. Sir Tho- 



200 



mas Chapman has a splendid opportunity of ingratiating 
himself with the people, and of removing every senti- 
ment of a hostile kind which has recently attached to his 
name. He will immediately regain that place in the gene- 
ral regard which kindness and liberality always ensure, and 
which hard dealing towards the lower classes is sure to for- 
feit. There is, after all, something better than money, and 
no man with either good sense or good feeling, would weigh 
some hundred or hundred and fifty pounds, against a truly 
generous action. Again, I entreat the Gentlemen opposed 
to me, for the sake of Sir Thomas Chapman, not to allow 
any petty consideration to obstruct that restoration of amity 
and good will between a great proprietor and the peasantry 
of the county, which can be so readily or so honourably 
effected. 

LHere the Counsel for Sir Thomas Chapman consulted 
with his Attorney and Land Agent, and after a little de- 
liberation, intimated that they would give up all costs, 
make no demand for the expenses to which Sir Thomas 
Chapman had been put, and which Mr. Discon, his Land 
Agent, said he would pay out of his own pocket, and that 
nothing should be required but the rent. This intimation 
was received with loud and repeated plaudits ] 

Mr. CUMMINS — I trust that this applause is not the ex- 
pression of triumph, for there is no cause for any, We have 
relinquished a portion of our rights, not from any fear, for 
we must have succeeded, but in consequence of the appeal 
which was made by Mr. Sheil, on behalf of Sir Thomas 
Chapman's tenants. 

Mr. SHEIL — Let not Mr. Cummins mistake the expres- 
sions of thankfulness for those of triumph. The people 
appreciate this act of forbearance, by which previous seve- 
rity is repaired. Sir Thomas Chapman has been greatly 
raised in the estimation of this great auditory ; and with a 
feeling of exultation, which has broken forth in reiterated 
plaudits, a sentiment of unaffected gratitude is intermingled. 
I thank Sir Thomas Chapman on behalf of my clients ; he 
will receive a two fold reward: the first and best will be, 
the consciousness of having done a good and humane action, 
(and what pleasure can be compared with it?) and the 
second will arise from the assurance which he may hence- 
forward entertain, that any animosity with which his con- 
duct has been regarded, will be converted into a feeling of 
unaffected, and, I trust, permanent regard. This example 
cannot fail to be followed, and I expect that every vindic- 



201 



tive proceding towards the free-holders of this county will 
;erminate with this day. 

The Chairman intimated his satisfaction at the manner in 
which these differences were adjusted, and the whole Bench 
)f Magistrates seemed to participate in his feelings. 

The whole of the rent due by the tenants was mnmedi- 
itely discharged out of the money advanced by the Associ- 
ition. Securities were passed for its repayment to the 
Parish Priests. 



MESSRS. 

O'CONNELL & SHEXLS' 

SPEECHES 

ON PROPOSING AN ADDRESS 

TO THE 

LOWER ORDERS. 



Mr. O'CONNELL said, he would read the draft of an 
Address designed as an admonition to the lower classes of 
the Irish People ; the first duty of the framers of that ad- 
monition was the fitness of the terms through which advice 
and caution were to be conveyed. Information had been 
laid before the Association, that attempts were made to 
create disturbances ; distinct intelligence was given, that 
emissaries, selected from the lower order of Police, were in 
active service under the arrangements and directions of an 
Orange Lodge, of Dublin. There is information upon this 
serious subject from most respectable Catholic Clergymen, 
and it is the duty of this Association to guard the People 
against the snares laid, and to apprise the Government of 
the Country of the works of the Conspirators. He had on 
that day been informed by a gentleman, that in the oath 
administered to the deluded Ribbonmen in the King's 
County and in the adjoining part of the County Tipperary, 
was to be found an injunction to be faithful and true to the 
Association ! — It is an imperative duty on us, said the 
learned Gentleman, to disabuse the poor people ; their and 
our enemies are abroad, and nothing could meet with our 
strong disapprobation more than their entering into illegal 
combinations. Our allegiance is pure and unqualified? it 
knows not any restriction but that which is marked out by 



203 



the Constitution and that Revolution of 1688, so glorious 
to Englishmen, but so fraught with disasters to us. We 
have respect for the laws. When I see a paltry fellow of 
the London Press calling on Government to put the six Acts 
in force against us, I laugh him to scorn when I turn to 
the Statutes. We do not come under the Act ; it has no 
application to any meetings but those held in the open air ; 
we meet in a room without any tie or obligation ; our dis- 
cussions are above board and open to investigation ; we do 
not seek to evade penalties by low subterfuge ; we are ame- 
nable to the laws, and look for our rights through the legi- 
timate channels of the Constitution, and we are opposed to 
those who are openly arrayed against the welfare of that 
Constitution. They talk of a proclamation to put down the 
voice of the Catholic People. Oh ! how the Orange fac- 
tion would yell, if Mr. Plunkett set about putting down the 
Catholics. We laugh at their impotent threats — we violate 
no law. The Constitutional James Daly was almost mad at 
the violence of the proceedings against the Orangemen ; the 
dear man said not a word, when Saurin was found to have 
taken like proceedings ; he paid very little regard to the 
preservation of the constitution, when he found that Saurin 
had set the example. I well remember when Dr. Sheridan 
was dragged before the Court of King's Bench, the faction 
would govern us as the slaves of the West Indies, not by 
law, but by proclamation. If we were governed as the 
Negroes, perhaps the Quakers would come forward and 
petition for us then ; they petition for the Negroes, and, 
in the overflowing of their humanity, pass their Catholic 
neighbours by. A fortnight shall not elapse, till we are 
able to trace home a conspiracy in existence to coerce the 
Government of this country ; this is high treason ; the 
Orange Lodges of Dublin have planned it ; they have an 
emissary out, who can get up meetings in Court-houses ; 
there is an unfortunate maniac, the Rev. Sir Harcourt Lees, 
who says, that the Government is actually afraid of him ; 
he is committing a breach of the peace, that goes to the extent 
of high treason ; the desperate acts of the Orange faction are 
as despicable as they are criminal ; the People laugh at them ; 
they are not able to meet us in argument. Our worthy 
Lord Mayor, Drury Jones, an importation from Wales, 
took affidavits, prepared at a meeting got up for the pur- 
pose of presenting the Association as a nuisance. The 
dressing of the Statute was always attended by riot. Per- 
sons came there in garbs that rendered them liable to trans- 
portation, under the Whiteboy Act. 1 knew hundred* 



204 



tranported for a like offence. They came in arms, firing 
and causing great alarm in College-green. They were put 
down by affidavits being made of the nuisance. Here the 
swearing was safe, but as to the Association, who will say, 
that there was not the most flagitious perjury committed ?— 
Not able to put us down by violence, they would cut our 
throats, and have recource to conspiracies. If the consta- 
bulary force would require help to keep the public peace, 
they could command the services of four hundred Gentle- 
men here, who would go at the risk of their lives. The 
peace of the city and country has not better friends than the 
Association. This address will let the people know their 
friends and their enemies. The Orange faction are tasteless 
and talentless — there is not one amongt them that has the 
lea3t pretensions to genius — they are as grovelling in intel- 
lect as in genius. I went on Circuit with Tom Ellis, for 
eleven years; he gave £13,000 for his office; the Judges 
heard him with great attention, and I insisted on being 
heard by them ; he totally and miserably failed. His is 
tried, ascertained, and experimented incapacity. When I 
was preparing to bring my bag into Court, his mind was 
occupied upon his dancing shoes. We must guard against 
the plotting of the faction, and appeal to the people in 
terms of affection, and of reprobation of their cruel op- 
pressors. 

Mr. O'CONNELL then read the Address, (which was 
composed by him) in the following words : — 

TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND. 

Fellow-Countrymen — We are your friends — your sin- 
cere friends, desirous to protect and serve you ; we ad- 
dress you from motives of pure kindness and disinterested 
affection. 

Listen to us, because we are your friends ; attend to us, 
because we are most desirous to be of use to you; weigh 
well and deliberately what we offer to your consideration : 
consider it carefully ; we appeal to your good sense and 
your reason ; make use of that common sense which Pro- 
vidence has, in its bounty given you, in a degree equal, 
and perhaps superior, to any people on the face of the 
globe ; think coolly and dispassionately upon the advice 
which we give you, and you will find it consistent with 
good sense and honesty, and strongly recommended by 
every principle of morality, and by all the sacred dictates 
of religion. 



205 



We advise you to refrain totally from all secret societies ; 
from all private combinations ; from every species of White- 
boyism, or Ribbonism, or by whatever other name any se- 
cret or private association may be called. We would not 
attempt to deceive or delude you ; we could not obtain 
your confidence if v/e were to state falsehoods ; and, if we 
could, we would not purchase confidence at the expense of 
truth. 

We do not come to tell you, that you have no grievances 
to complain of, or that there are no oppressions to be re- 
dressed ; we are sorry to be obliged to admit that you have 
just cause of complaint, and that there exist many and bit- 
ter grievances which ought to be redressed ; we know that 
these grievances and oppressions are the excuses which too 
of the uneducated classes of our countrymen have 
given for turbulence, violence, and the forming of secret 
associations ; but we also know, that proceedings of that 
kind only aggravate the mischief and increase the quantity 
o." suffering which they pretend to redress. 

It is to this, that we call your particular attention ; it is 
to this, that we request your deliberate and full conside- 
ration. 

We most solemnly assure you, that secret and illegal so- 
cieties — that Ribbonism, and Whiteboyism, and viol ence, 
and outrage, and crime, have always increased the quantity 
of misery and oppression in Ireland, and have never pro- 
duced any relief or mitigation of the sufferings of the peo- 
ple. Every one of you have heard of, and many of you are 
old enough to have seen, the effects of secret societies, and 
of various descriptions of Whiteboyism, and of much ille- 
gal violence, and many minor crimes, as well as horrible 
outrages and murders. 

Now, setting aside for the present, all other objections, 
we will ask you, whether any good has been ever produced 
by such proceedings or atrocities ? You must answer in the 
negative. You must perceive that the people have never 
derived any benefit from them. Many individuals have suf- 
fered long imprisonment by reason of them — they have 
caused multitudes to be severed from their families and 
nearest connexions — they have crowded the decks of the 
transport vessels, and they have thronged the gallows with 
victims. 

There are other evils which have attended Whiteboy and 
Ribbon disturbances — and, in particular, the innocent fre- 
quently suffer for the guilty. When property is burned, or 
otherwise destroyed, the value is levied off the parish, Eu- 
T 



206 



irony, or County. The person intended to be injured gets 
as high, and frequently a higher price for his property than 
he probably would otherwise obtain for it. But, who are 
they who pay for it ? Why, nine-tenths of them must be 
persons who had no share in the crime — and who is it that 
can make restitution to the innocent people who are thus 
obliged to pay their money ? What a load of guilt does 
not this bring home to the persons who commit the crime, 
they can never make adequate restitution for— and how 
can they ever expect to obtain mercy from the all-just 
Providence, while they are the means of uncompensated 
injustice ? 

Again, wherever Whiteboy or Ribbon offences are com- 
mitted, many innocent persons will inevitably be convicted 
of crimes which they never committed. How many inno- 
cent persons have we known to suffer transportation ? and 
how many have we seen suffer death by reason of Whiteboy 
crimes ? Some may blame the administration of the laws 
for these frightful results — but good sense will soon con- 
vince every dispassionate man, that they are necessary 
results from the passions which are naturally excited by 
Whiteboy and Ribbon outrages and crimes, and from the 
rewards which at such periods are justifiably offered to in- 
formers, amongst whom will be found the very basest of 
mankind. 

Fellow-countrymen we tell you nothing but the truth. — 
No goad, no advantage, no benefit, has ever been produced 
in Ireland by Whiteboyism or Ribbonism, or any other 
species of secret association. Such associations are forbid- 
den by the law of man — and as they are necessarily produc- 
tive of crimes, they are more powerfully forbidden by the 
law of God. 

By the law of the land, any man who joins a secret asso- 
ciation, bound together by an oath, or any engagement or 
promise whatsoever, is liable to be transported. Any per- 
son who joins such meeting by day, is liable to fine, impri- 
sonment, and whipping. Any person who joins them by 
night, is liable to transportation. Any person who joins 
them at night, in rapping at a door, or even verbally de- 
manding arms, or ammunition, or horses, or uses any 
threats or menaces against the inhabitants of the dwelling- 
house, is liable to be executed, quite as much as if he had 
committed robbery or murder. And, besides all these 
punishments by the regular course of law, there is the 
Insurrection Act, which can be applied by the Govern- 
ment to any disturbed district, and by the means of that 



207 



Act, any person who is out of his dwelling-house from 
sun-set to sun-rise, may be transported without Judge or 
Jury. 

We have given you this brief abstract of the legal pu- 
nishments that await the disturbances produced by secret 
societies. Every act done by them is illegal, and liable to 
punishment. — We deem it a duty we owe to you, to put 
you on your guard against incurring either the guilt or 
punishment. 

There is another and a more important object. These 
secret societies, and the outrages which they generate, are 
forbidden by the awful voice of religion. Your religion 
directs you to be submissive to the laws — it orders you not 
to do an injury to any man whatsoever. It tells you that 
you are not to commit any crime whatsoever, however 
small, even though such crimes were to produce the greatest 
possible good. Your religion informs you, that if you take 
or injure the property of any man, you cannot obtain for- 
giveness of the offence, without making restitution to the 
full extent of all the property you are possessed of. We 
need not tell you how your religion abhors every thing that 
approaches to robbery, murder or blood. You cannot 
really be Catholics — you cannot really be Christians, if you 
do not feel or know, that what we say to you is literally 
and exactly true. 

There are other matters which equally deserve your atten- 
tion — these disturbances not only have never produced any 
good effect, but they can never possibly be successful ; they 
usually produce some robbery of arms, some plundering of 
houses, the destruction of corn, cattle, and other property ; 
and they also cause many murders ; but no human being 
ever was or is benefited by them ; and beyond these crimes 
it is not possible that any success can attend the perpetra- 
tors ; they are totally unable to face the Constabulary force 
in open contest ; half a dozen Policemen are quite sufficient 
to put down the strongest Whiteboy force in any thing like 
a regular attack ; and, if they were not, the Police are 
reinforced by the Yeomanry corps, and these again by the 
regular army. The Government has at its command upwards 
of one hundred thousand Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery ; 
and, if it wanted foreign aid against domestic disturbances, 
it could easily procure one hundred thousand more — so that 
all notion of being successful by means of Whiteboyism, or 
secret societies, is as ridiculous and absurd as it is wicked and 
criminal. 

Let it be recollected, too, that in all those disturbances 
T 2 



208 



and secret societies, no person of education, character, or 
property takes a part ; they are condemned by every honest 
and every intelligent person, and above all, they are -repro- 
bated by your truly amiable, intelligent, laborious, pious, 
and beloved Clergy, How is it possible that you can forget 
the admonition and advice of that Clergy? Do not you 
know that they have no other interest but your's ; and no 
other object but \our temporal, as well as eternal wel- 
fare ? 

Fellow-countrymen, attend to our advice — we advise you 
to abstain from all such secret combinations ; if you engage 
in them you not only meet our decided disapprobation, in 
conjunction with that of your reverend Clergy, but you 
gratify and delight the basest and bloodiest faction that ever 
polluted a country — the Orange faction. The Orangemen 
anxiously desire that you should form Whiteboy, and Rib- 
bon, and other secret societies ; they not only desire it, but 
they take an active part in promoting the formation of such 
societies ; they send amongst you spies and informers ; first 
to instigate you to crime, and then to betray you to punish- 
ment. They supply their emissaries with money, and they 
send them to different parts of the country, holding out to 
the people the pretence of being friends and fellow-sufferers. 
The instances are not few, nor remote of such instigation, 
and it is quite natural that the Orangemen should adopt 
such measures. When the country is disturbed it is the 
Orangeman's harvest ; he is then employed in the Consta- 
bulary force and in the Police, and he obtains permanent 
pay in the Yeomanry Corps. He shares the rewards with 
the informer, and often helps him to mark out his victim,, 
He is also able to traduce the People and the religion of the 
land. The absence of Constitutional law enables the Orange- 
man to exert ruffian violence with impunity — and thus, by 
means of secret and Whiteboy Societies and outrages, the 
fell Orangeman is able to gratify his predominant passions 
of avarice, oppression, and cruelty. 

You could not please the Orangemen more than in 
embarking in secret societies, Whiteboyism and out- 
rage. 

On the other hand, you could not do any thing that 
could more afflict your sincere friends. You could do 
nothing that could give greater grief to the Catholic Asso- 
ciation, that now affectionately and anxiously address you. 
We are struggling to obtain your rights by constitutional 
and legal means. We are endeavouring to procure redress 
through the proper and legal channel, for the oppressions 



209 



which aggrieve you. We are anxiously desirous to obtain 
from Parliament a great diminution of the Tithes — a total 
abolition of the Church-Rates — a great reduction of the 
Grand Jury Cess — the abolition of the odious oppressions 
and heavy Tolls, raised by bigotted and narrow-minded 
Corporators — a more pure Administration of Justice, more 
especially as it affects the lower and poorer classes of the 
Community ; and, above all, the extension of equal 
laws and equal Rights to all Classes of his Majesty's 
Subjects. 

Engaged in these sacred duties, our success for the Peo- 
ple is highly probably, unless we are thwarted by the People 
themselves. We have no idea of acting for persons who 
would be so foolish as to put themselves in the power of 
their enemies ; and we now, and for ever, disclaim any kind 
of alliance with persons who could be so w icked as to com- 
mit crimes — besides, our power to do good is necessarily 
weakened by any disturbance on the part of the People, 
whilst the strength of their enemies is thereby augmented 
and reinforced. 

Thus, Fellow-Countrymen, we have submitted to your 
judgment and reason, these topics — 

1 st. That no good has ever been the result of WTiiteboy 
disturbances and Secret Societies. 

2d. That the Persons engaged therein are liable to the 
severest punishments — to imprisonment, whipping, trans- 
portation, and death. 

3d. We have shown you that your Religion distinctly, 
and loudly prohibits and condemns all the outrages and 
crimes which are produced by Whiteboyism and other 
Secret Societies. 

4th. That it would be quite foolish and absurd to expect 
any kind of success from Whiteboy disturbances or Secret 
Societies. 

5th. That such disturbances give great pleasure and many 
advantages to the Orange faction, and are, in general, 
secretly instigated by that foul faction. 

6th. That these disturbances and Secret Societies are 
reprobated and condemned by your excellent and matchless 
Clergy — a Clergy whom you ought not only to esteem 
and to love, but whose advice you are bound to respect and 
obey. 

7th. That these disturbances and Secret Societies are 
most distinctly and emphatically condemned by your 
most sincere friends the Catholic Association of Ire- 
land. 

T 3 



210 



8th. That the necessary consequences of such dis- 
turbances and Whiteboy Societies,, is to impede our le- 
gal and constitutional exertions in our progress to put 
down the Orange faction, to obtain redress for many 
of the oppressions and grievances under which you 
labour, and in fine to achieve Catholic Emancipa- 
tion. 

There remains but one topic more, and that is peculiar 
to the present times — we have at length an Attorney -Gene- 
ral who exposes faction, and is anxious to do his duty im- 
partially to all the King's subjects. We have, for Lord 
Lieutenant, an Irish Nobleman, who loves the land of his 
birth, of which he is a bright ornament, and who is sin- 
cerely solicitous to give her peace, quiet, liberty, and hap- 
piness; but above all, and greatest of all, we have now 
upon the Throne a Monarch, to whom the People of Ire- 
land ought to look with affectionate hope ; a Monarch who 
had the good sense and manliness to commence his reign by 
that noble declaration, "That power W T as a trust for the 
good of the People." The first British Monarch who ever 
visited the shores of Ireland in the sweet garb of peace, 
and for the purposes of benevolence and kindness ; a Mo- 
narch who has often declared his warm affection for his 
Irish subjects, and of whom we have every reason to believe 
that the leading wish of his patriotic and cultivated mind is, 
to see dissension cease, and cordial unanimity of sentiment 
prevail in Ireland. 

In the name, then, of common sense, which forbids you to 
!• eek foolish courses — by the hate you bear the Orangemen, 
who are your natural enemies — by the confidence you repose 
in the Catholic Association, who are your natural and zea- 
lous friends — by the respect and affection you entertain for 
your Clergy, who alone visit with comfort your beds of 
sickness and desolation — by all these powerful motives, and 
still more by the affectionate reverence you bear for the gra- 
cious Monarch who deigns to think of your sufferings with 
a view to your relief — and, above all, and infinitely beyond 
all, in the name of Religion, and of the living God, we con- 
jure you to abstain from all secret and illegal Societies, and 
Whiteboy disturbances and outrages. 

So shall you permit us to seek by peaceful, legal, 
and constitutional means the redress of your grievances 
and oppressions ; and so shall you enable us to obtain 
for our beloved Country, those constitutional privileges 
raid blessings which can alone make her what she ought 
to be — 



211 



(( Great, glorious, and free, 

First flower of the earth, and first gem of the sea/' 

Mr. LANIGAN said, before the question was put, he 
had a word to say upon it ; he perfectly agreed with the 
views and objects of the address ; he [knew the part of the 
country, pointed out by Mr. O'Connell, where there were 
persons who, to his own knowledge, used all the means 
they could possibly employ, to oppress the people, but they 
had* been successfully opposed by many highly respectable 
Gentlemen. He knew there were plots hatched and brought 
to maturity, and that the victims of those plots were nu- 
merous ; nevertheless, in cautioning the people it was right 
to use temperate language; every word of the address 
would be carefully analysed by the enemies of the people ; 
if any words were found in it that would have the least ten- 
dency to produce a different effect from that which was in- 
tended, he would hope that they should be expunged. — 
There were two expressions in the Address objectionable on 
that principle, namely, that part were it mentions, that 
trials under the Insurrection Act are without the guidance 
of Judge or Jury ; though the Insurrection Act gives to a 
King's Counsel the same powers as those exercised by a 
Judge of Assize. In the part where the expression, " hate 
to Orangemen," occurs, he should like to know if such ex- 
pressions were not contrary to the principles of the Christian 
Religion ; if the clergy, whom the people love, say, take 
and read the Address with such words in it, will they not 
be breathing hostility to their fellow -men ? He would there- 
fore move an amendment. 

Mr. SHEIL said, my friend Mr. Lanigan is a little prone 
to hypercriticism. The Address is an exhortation to peace, 
wise, cordial, and sincere. It is not by a minute admea- 
surement of isolated phrase, but by its whole tenor, that 
its value ought to be tried. The labour of Mr. O'Connell 
ought not to be requited with ingenious sophistications. It 
is matter of astonishment that he should be able to devote 
so much of his mind to the public service. Oppressed as 
he is by his professional engagements, it is surprising that 
he should have made such an allocation of his faculties be- 
tween his Clients and his Country. We are told by Mr. 
Lanigan, that hatred to Orangemen should not be distinctly 
intimated in an Address which is intended for the pacifica- 
tion of the people. I do not coincide with Mr. Lanigan, 
There is no reference to individuals in the document before 
Ms. It is to the principle which has drawn them into league 



212 



that the expression is applied, and in the whole com- 
pass of diction there is not a word so deeply fraught 
with execration, as to convey, with any sort of adequacy, the 
sentiment of unqualified abhorrence with which that bloody, 
that unnatural and detestable confederacy ought to be con- 
veyed. In the name of human nature, and of that God 
who has endowed the heart with emotion — in the name of 
the passions and of the instincts, that reside in the breast of 
man, w T hat other sentiment is it possible for a Roman Catho- 
lic to entertain towards that abominable Association ? Let 
us not be told of the charities of the Christian religion — we 
are enjoined by Scripture to hold our cheeks to the buffet — 
but not to stretch our necks to the knife. Forgive and for- 
get, forsooth. " Forgive, forget ! I must, indeed, forget, 
when I forgive !" What is to be forgiven ? The thirst for 
massacre, which, I trust in God, we shall not give them an 
opportunity to quench I And what is our invocation ? Do 
we call upon the people to turn upon their oppressors? — 
No ; this address is a proclamation of peace — it enlists the 
popular passions in the cause of national tranquillity — it en- 
joins the people to disappoint the ferocious avidity for 
blood — it bids them seek revenge in peace. We tell them, 
" Do not gratify your antagonists by letting them cut your 
throats — irascimini sed notite pjccare." W T e tell the peo- 
ple, " The Orangemen are crouched to leap upon you — 
they watch every movement with a tiger vigilance, and want 
but a single indiscretion to make you their prey — they en- 
deavour to goad you into rebellion, that they may bathe 
themselves in your blood." Is it not notorious, that the 
Orangemen of Ireland wish for a public convulsion ? I do 
not speak of the individual members of that body, but of 
the spirit that prevails through that ferocious incorporation. 
They long for a renewal of QH — they sigh for the era of 
triangles, and the epoch of pitch caps — they carouse to the 
whip and to the torch, and in the midst of their cups, after 
offering libations to the slavery of their country, <<r fight 
their battles," or I should rather say, they wade through 
massacre again. Methinks I see the northern yeoman re- 
counting his achievements in the slaughter of defenceless 
women and of aged men ! The flames of the burning ho- 
vel flash upon his imagination, and as he draws his rusty 
sabre, clotted with the blood of the orphan and the widow, 
he mingles the pleasures of hope with the gratifications of 
memory, and anticipates the recurrence of the glorious day 
when every house was in flames, and every ditch was red 
with blood. I do not attribute this sanguinary speculation, 



213 



to the better class of the Orangemen of Ireland, but that 
this nefarious desire rages among the inferior order of that 
vile confederacy, I entertain no doubt. It was the maxim 
of Machiavel, that slavery was rivetted by unsuccessful in- 
surrection. " Create a rebellion, crush it, and then/* says 
Machiavel, " you are a despot indeed." Some of his Flo- 
rentine policy may be found in Dublin, and we should omit 
no efforts to counteract so detestable a design, 



MR O'CONNELL'3 



SPEECH 

AT THE 

ASSOCIATION, 

ON 

WEDNESDAY; FEBRUARY 2^ 1827. 



Mr. O'CONNELL said, that he had prepared a Petition 
of great importance, and which, in his mind, would ope- 
rate towards obtaining for the Catholics a full measure of 
redress. He entreated the attention of the Meeting while 
he detailed the principles on which the Petition was found- 
ed, and the purposes for which it was intended. These pur- 
poses were to obtain for the Roman Catholics seats in Parli- 
ament, and a participation in the legislation of the country. 
He had heard a rumour of an intention to concede to the 
Catholics such portion of their claims as did not come with- 
in the privilege of sitting in Parliament — but, although the 
Legislature would confer considerable boons by doing 
so much, and although the Catholics, as creditors, had to 
deal with a reluctant debtor, and it was, therefore, their in- 
terest to take any instalment proffered, on account of their 
demand, yet they would not accept of such instalment in 
discharge of the whole, or give a release of their claims till 
they had been fully paid off. It was infinitely more impor- 
tant that the Catholic gentry should be admitted to the pri- 
vilege of a seat in the Commons House of Parliament, and I 
the Catholic nobility to seats in the House of Peers, than - 
any other of the immunities that might be conceded to them 
— for, until this should be accomplished, we could never be 
sure, that our Rights would be faithfully guarded, or the 
encroachments of the Established Church vigilantly watch- 



215 



ed. The Established Church, since the Act of Union, had 
obtained forty distinct grants, confirming their prerogatives, 
and so facilitating the collection of their various claims, that 
it became impossible to resist their demands for Tithes, 
Dues, or Church Rates. With such a system as this in ope- 
ration, fraught as it is with the most evil consequences — a 
system in which the Established Clergy, who, if not over 
alive to their spiritual, could not be accused of any inatten- 
tion to their temporal interests — a system in which the 
Clergy were permitted to make their inclinations the scale 
of their encroachments — under such a system, he said, it 
was impossible for the people to preserve themselves from 
oppression, unless they were made partakers of the Consti- 
tution. The fundamental principles of that Constitution 
demonstrated that it was a solecism in politics, that any 
class of men should be capable of electing others to an office 
to which they were ineligible themselves. There was one 
office in which this rule was reversed, and to which Catho- 
lics might be elected, although they could not exercise the 
privilege of electors — he meant the office of Churchwarden. 
But the reason of this was, that a Catholic was accountable 
for the receipts of the office, and if he either does not 
receive them, or does not account for them, his successor in 
office, as well as the Bishop, may sue him for the amount. 
This was the enviable office to which a Catholic was eligible, 
but that same Catholic who might fill the office himself was 
obliged to walk out of the vestry as well as the Church- 
warden himself. Under these impressions he had prepared 
the draft of a Petition from an ancient document which he 
would presently read to the Meeting. Their measures were 
not tumultuous, nor their objects disaffected. They designed 
to procure for the country peace, tranquillity, and a Consti- 
tutional union. He meant such a union as existed at the 
latter end of 1782, which he hoped he might again see 
restored, and which might continue unimpaired till the end 
}f time. The object of the Catholics was conciliation. It 
ivas to add the strength of Ireland to the power of England. 
Let England perform an act of justice to Ireland, and Ire- 
and becomes a source of her strength. This is not specu- 
ation, it is not fancy, but it is fact ; or it is rather prophecy 
n a different spirit from that of Pastorini. The Eldons, the 
Peels, and the Liverpools would again say, appeal not to 
heory, but give us facts. Then he (Mr. O'Connell) would 
; ppeal to facts. It was the practice of lawyers to cite cases 
n questions of law, and to produce witnesses in matters of 
act. In conformity with this plan, the first witness he 



216 

would call was Scotland, which his friend Mr. Lawless had 
so justly eulogised in the beautiful language of Curran, not 
less eloquent than his own. For more than a century Scot- 
and was the most turbulent part of the empire. She 
did not exhibit the self-control of Ireland, nor pati- 
ently suffer herself to be trampled on, while her oppres- 
sors rode by in triumph. She hewed down with the sword 
of the Lord the Archbishops and Bishops ; and when the 
force of the British arms became too strong for her people, 
they retired to their mountains, and after renovating their 
vigour, they returned to carry desolation to the very dwell- 
ings of their assailants. The Scots rose in repeated insur- 
rections, and retaliated on their foes by more than one 
successful effort. They got possession of their King, and they 
sold him into the hands of his enemies. The scene of car- 
nage and devastation was renewed after the Restoration ; 
and if the Scots fell, their only consolation was, that they 
dyed their avenging swords with the blood of their ene- 
mies. England at length saw that she could not convert the 
Presbyterians. She established the Presbyterian religion as 
the religion of the country, and the consequence was, that 
Scotland grew in greatness, and became a source of strength, 
power, and glory to Great Britain. He now dismissed this 
witness to be cross-examined by whoever pleased. The 
more the question was canvassed, the more it demonstrated 
the weakness and impolicy of governing a nation by oppres- 
sion and constraint. Scotland was fierce, ungovernable, 
bloody battling and ferocious ; she became at once tranquil, 
industrious, and peaceable. The one state of things termi- 
nated, and the other commenced with the concession of an 
act of justice. The next instance he would adduce was less 
familiar, and he owed it to the writings of Burke. While 
England exercised an exclusionary dominion over Wales, 
the effects were equally disastrous. In Wales political 
exclusion was, in itself, sufficient to create all the horrors 
of inveterate and rancourous hostility. He would now 
read a passage from Mr, Burkes' s speech on Conciliation 
with America : — 

" Wales was said to be reduced by Henry HI. It was 
said more truly to be so by Edward I. But though then 
conquered, it was not looked upon as any part of the realm 
of England. Its old Constitution, whatever it might have 
been, was destroyed, and no good one was substituted in its 
place. The care of that tract was put into the hands of 
Lords Marshers — a form of Government of a very singular 
kind ; a strange heterogeneous monster — something between 



217 



hostility and government ; perhaps it has a sort of resem- 
blance according to the modes of those times, to that of 
Cominander-in-Chief at present, to whom all civil power is 
granted as secondary. The manners of the Welch nation 
followed the genius of the Government ; the people were. 
ferocious, restive, savage, and uncultivated ; sometimes 
composed, never pacified. Wales, within itself, was in per- 
petual disorder, and it kept the frontier of England in perpe- 
tual alarm. Benefits from it to the State, there were none. 
Wales was only known to England by incursion and inva- 
sion." 

In a late number of the Times, he saw the passage — 
" Ireland is known to England only by insurrection and 
massacre." 

" During that state of things Parliament was not idle. 
They attempted to subdue the fierce spirit of the Welch, by 
all sorts of rigorous laws. They prohibited, by statute, the 
sending of all sorts of arms into Wales, as you prohibit, by 
proclamation, (with something more than doubt on the 
legality) the sending arms to America. They disarmed the 
Welch by statute, as you attempted (but still with more 
question on the legality) to disarm New England by an 
instruction. They made an Act to drag offenders from 
Wales into England for trial, as you have done (but with 
more hardship) with regard to America. By another Act 
where one of the parties was an Englishman, they ordained 
that his trial should be always by English." 

There is a statute at this moment on the roll which pre- 
scribes, that in cases in which the Penal Laws are applica- 
ble, all the Jurors shall be Protestants. 

" They made Acts to restrain trade, as you do ; and they 
prevented the Welch from the use of fairs and markets, as 
you do the Americans from fisheries and foreign ports. In 
short, when the statute-book was not quite so much swelled 
as it is now, you find no less than fifteen of the Acts of 
penal regulations on the subject of Wales." 

Mere we rub our hands — a fine body of precedents for the 
authority of Parliament and the use of it ! I admit it full} ; 
and pray add likewise to those precedents, that all the 
while Wales rid this kingdom as an incubus ; that it was 
an unprofitable and oppressive burthen ; and that an Eng- 
lishman travelling in that country could not go six yards 
from the high road without being murdered. 

i{ The march of the human mind is slow. It was not until 
after two hundred years discovered by an eternal law, that 
Providence had decreed vexation to violence, and poverty to 
U 



218 



rapine. Your ancestors did, however, at length open their 
eyes to the ill-husbandry of injustice. They found that the 
tyranny of a free people could, of all tyrannies, the least be 
endured ; and that laws made against a whole nation, were 
not the most effectual methods for securing its obedience. 
Accordingly, in the 27th year of Henry VIII., the course 
was entirely altered. With a preamble stating the entire 
and perfect rights of the Crown of England, it gave to the 
Welch all the rights and privileges of English subjects. A 
political order was established ; the military power gave 
way to the civil — and the marshes were turned into coun- 
ties. But that a nation should have a right to English 
liberties, and yet no share at all in the fundamental security 
of these liberties, the grant of their own property seemed a 
thing so incongruous, that, eight years after, in the 35th of 
that reign, a complete, and not ill-proportioned representa- 
tion by counties and boroughs, was bestowed upon Wales 
by Act of Parliament. From that moment, as by a charm, 
the tumults subsided ; obedience was restored ; peace, 
order, and civilization followed in the train of liberty — 
when the day-star of the English Constitution had arisen in 
their hearts, all was harmony within and without — 

. simul alba nautis 

Stella refulsit, 
Defluit saxis agitatus humor ; 
Concidunt venti, fugiuntque nubes, 
Etminax (quod sic voluere) ponto 
Unda recumbit." 

Mr. O'CONNELL resumed — he said, that at this moment 
we cost England three millions annually more than the total 
revenue of the country, while, according to the rule of pro- 
duce in England, we ought to contribute 17 millions; thus 
a positive loss of 20 millions is incurred. When religion 
was set at liberty in Scotland, the Peels and the Eldons of 
that day, no doubt, wept and blubbered most pathetically. 
W T hen Wales was admitted within the pale of the Constitu- 
tion, the Bankes* and the other small fry of corruption 
were in a terrible consternation. But what were the results 
to the country at large? Peace, strength, and prosperity. 
— These were the effects in Scotland and Wales ; and who 
shall tell that it is chimerical to anticipate similar results in 
Ireland. The Petition which he had prepared is taken 
from the third instance, that of the Palatines of Ches- 
ter, who were likewise excluded from the benefits of 



219 



the Constitution. Mr. O'Connell here read the follow- 
ing extract : — 

" The very same year the county Palatine of Chester 
received the same relief from its oppressions and the same 
remedy to its disorders. Before this time Chester was little 
less distempered than Wales. The inhabitants without 
rights themselves, were the fittest to destroy the rights 
of others; and from thence Richard II. drew the standing 
army of Archers, with which, for a time, he oppressed 
England. The People of Chester applied to Parliament 
in a petition." 

" What did Parliament with this audacious address ? 
Reject it as a libel } Treat it as an affront to Government ? 
Spurn it as a derogation from the rights of the legisla- 
ture ? Did they toss it over the table ? Did they bum 
it by the hands of the common hangman ? — They took the 
petition of grievance, all rugged as it was, without sof- 
tening its temperament, impurged of the original bitter- 
ness and indignation of complaint ; they made it the very 
preamble to their act of redress ; and consecrated its prin- 
ciple to all ages, in the sanctuary of Legislation." 

He had now three distinct precedents to show that Eng- 
land was three times unjust, and three times was that injus- 
tice followed by tumult and crime — the consequences re- 
bounded on England. Let England, then, but unite us 
to themselves, by doing justice to Ireland, and where is the 
power, from the scorching heat of the torrid zone to the 
everlasting snows of the antarctic pole, to whom we would 
not be more than a match, in arts, in arms, and all the 
excellence of civilized refinements ? — But we are not to attri- 
bute solely to religious animosity, the evils entailed by the 
Peels, and the Eldons, and the Liverpools. In Wales poli- 
tical rancour alone was the source of the bitterest dissensions. 
In Scotland the evil was aggravated by the excitements of 
religious discord. It appears that the Peels, and the Eldons, 
and the Liverpools, were hostile to Irish franchise, even 
before the Reformation. In the 10th year of Henry VI. an 
Act was passed, whereby it was provided, 

" That no merchant, or other persons, liege or alien, 
should use, in time of peace nor war, any manner of fair, 
market, or other place, amongst the Irish enemies, with mer- 
chandize, or things to be sold, or send there to them, if it 
were not to acquit any prisoner of them that were the 
King's liege men ; and if any liege man did the contrary, he 
should be holden and adjudged a felon ; and that it should 
be lawful for every liege man to arrest and take such mer- 
U 2 



220 



chants and persons with the merchandize and things, and to 
send them to the next gaol, there to remain until they should 
be delivered as law requireth ; and the King to have one-half 
of the said goods, and he or they that should take them the 
other half/' 

And the unfortunate English culprit was to get nothing, 
Indeed, when we find the English making Acts to hold no 
communion with the Irish, even for the purpose of receiving 
money from them, we may conclude that they hated them 
most cordially. The next is an Act giving power to seize 
Irish spies : — 

" It shall be lawful for every liege man to take all man- 
ner of Irish enemies, which, in time of peace and truce, 
shall come and converse amongst the English lieges, to spie 
there secrecies, force, ways and sublities, and to make 
of them as of the King's enemies." 

In time of war it might be very natural to put their Irish 
enemies to death, but it was rather a severity to put them t6 
death for holding a conversation in time of peace with their 
English neighbours. The next Act provides against the 
marrying with any Irishman, or fostering the child, whe- 
ther legitimate or illegitimate, of any Irish Nobleman or 
Captain, under the pain of high treason. It has been com- 
plained that the Irish were turbulent ; may we not very justly 
plead that the English took means, from the very commence- 
ment of their connexion with us, to make us so. So early 
as the time of Henry II., what the Irish Chieftains petiti- 
oned for was, an admission to the share of the Constitution. 
This was what they asked, and for this purpose they sent 
■■'or ward their petition thirty different times. It suited the 
views of the exclusionists of those days, to defeat their just 
claims. The fact was, they were persecuted in order to give 
to an eternal faction, the dominion of the country. Our po- 
verty was put under contribution, to support the richest 
Church Establishment in the world, with the smallest num- 
ber of Incumbents. We cherish no rancour or hostility 
against the Established Clergy. We are quite content that 
the Archbishops and the Bishops, and the Deans, and all 
the other Dignitaries down to the lowest Parson, should en- 
joy their tithes and their benefices ; but we do struggle, that 
we may not be obliged to support their enormous, their 
gorgeous riches — for which we are to expect no other value 
than calumny. Our opposition to the Church does not arise 
from any turbulence of disposition peculiar to the Irish peo- 
ple. It is grounded on a principle implanted in the human 
breast — nay, it proceeds from an instinct that extends to 



221 



the meanest animal in the creation. Even the crawling 
worm will turn upon the foot that tramples it. It is equally 
apparent, that the resistance of our claims does not proceed 
from any religious animosity entertained by the people of 
England ; for, do we not see every day myriads of English 
capital transferred to the Catholics of South America i Do 
we not see upon the Throne of England a Monarch who, in 
the dominions which he can call his own, has proclaimed 
religious equality to all his Subjects ? It is important that 
these truths should be infixed in the minds of the people of 
England. They may be blinded by prejudice, and their 
ears may be stunned by the falsehoods of our calumniators. 
It is essential that we should open their eyes, by letting in 
upon them the light of truth, and that we should say to 
them, you oppressed Chester, and it became alienated — you 
relieved it, and it turned to fidelity — you proscribed the 
Welch, and they were ready to murder you — you reconciled 
them, and they augmented your strength — you persecuted 
the Scotch, and they did murder you by wholesale — yon 
conciliated them, and they became your allies and your 
friends. You have oppressed Ireland, Oh ! let past expe- 
rience teach you a lesson of policy, and tranquillize her by 
doing her justice. Never was there a moment so propitious, 
so inviting as the present, when all are unanimous — when 
the Protestant is calling aloud to the Legislature to do jus- 
tice to his Catholic countryman. Even in the midst of the 
Corporation, the focus of rancour and animosity, a Protes- 
tant Jury has done justice to one of the most turbulent of 
your agitators. All the pre-disposing symptoms of health 
and soundness are amongst us. A disposition exists in the 
heart of every man to embrace his fellow-countryman with 
affection and regard. The Parliament have the leisure to 
consider our claims, and, while they do us justice, they 
may add to their own dignity aud strength. No one now 
threatens the English Parliament ; they may sit under the 
»hade of their laurels, with the vine, the emblem of peace, 
flourishing around them. All is harmony. The respectable 
Protestant evinces a liberal feeling, while the Catholic meets 
the advances of the Protestant with cordiality and grati- 
tude. Irishmen, thus united, will proclaim to the congre- 
gated despots of Europe, the impossibility of fettering the 
faculties, or maiming the liberties, of a generous and united 
people. 



Mr. O'CONNELL then read the Petition, which was as 
follows : 

U 3 * 



222 



To the lit. Hon, and Hon. the Knights, Citizens, and 
Burgesses, in Parliament assembled, 

The humble Petition of the undersigned Catholics of Ireland, 

" HUMBLY SHEWETH, 

"That whereas the Catholic Inhabitants of Ireland are, and 
have long been, exempt, excluded, and separated out and 
from your High Court of Parliament, to have any Knights 
and Burgesses (being Catholics) within the said Court, by 
reason whereof the said Catholic inhabitants of Ireland 
hitherto sustained manifold disherisons, losses and damages, 
as well in their lands, goods and bodies, as in the good, 
civil and politic governance and maintenance of the common- 
wealth of their said country ; And forasmuch as the said 
inhabitants have always hitherto been bound by the Acts and 
Statutes made and ordained by our most gracious Sovereign 
and his most noble progenitors, by authority of the said 
Court of Parliament, as far forth as other persons have been 
that have had their Knights and Burgesses within your said 
Court of Parliament, and yet have had neither Knight nor 
Burgess there of the Roman Catholic persuasion, the said 
inhabitants, for lack thereof, have been oftentimes touched 
and grieved with Acts and Statutes, made within the said 
Court, as well derogatory unto the most ancient jurisdic- 
tions, liberties, and privileges of your said Petitioners and 
their ancestors in this land, -as prejudicial to the common- 
wealth, quietness, rest and peace of His Majesty's most 
bounden subjects, being Catholic, inhabitants within the 
same. 

" May it, therefore, please this Honorable House, to take 
such measures, in its wisdom, as may enable His Majesty's 
most dutiful subjects (being Catholics) to sit and vote in 
this Honorable House, when duly elected and returned 

thereto." 



MR. O'CONNELL'S 



SPEECH 

AT THE 

FREEMASONS' TAVERX. 

FEBRUARY 26, 1826. 



Mr. O'CONXELL rose, and spoke to the full owing 
effect :— 

May I ask the favour of gentlemen to be seated, I pro- 
mise them that they shall all hear me, and I much fear that 
I shall trespass so long on their patience as to require their 
indulgence. I have promised, my Lord Duke, to speak at 
some length, and that is a promise which I have never 
known a public speaker violate. It has happened that 
those who have risen to say a few words, made speeches of 
hours' length, but he who promises to bestow his tediousness 
on. an assembly, is never found to break his engagment. 
I did not come to this country I will not say willingly nor 
icily; I left my home, and it is a happy home — 1 Left my 
profession, and it is that which engages me much — I left 
my clients, in whose fate my interests, and in many of 
whose fortunes my better feelings were deeply engaged. I 
have made (1 do not boast of it) a considerable pecuniary 
sacrifice to come here. I wanted to be heard by English 
justice. I preferred my humble petition, that, before I was 
convicted, they might listen to my case. I made that 
prayer to English justice, and English justice has spurned 
the petitioner and refused the claim. Let it be told through- 
out Europe, that those seven millions (for they are seven 
millions) whose interests are committed to my feeble voice, 
made no other entreaty than this, " Strike if you please, 
but first hear — punish if it be right, but first try the qtuttfe 



224 



lion, 9 ' But that petition, on the face of Europe, and in the 
presence of the God of Justice, has been rejected ; and I 
must return to tell the seven millions, that they must seek 
the abode of justice elsewhere, for in England she has made 
an adjournment. But perhaps there is something in the 
constitution of our intellect — something in the Irish charac- 
ter, which makes it right to treat the Irish nation thus ; 
perhaps the mark of Cain is upon us, and that that which 
would be injustice towards the African slave — that which 
would not be done to the brutal negro (brutalised by slavery,) 
is quite right when adopted against Irishmen. Perhaps so 
— well, we must endure it, and we will endure it. But 
while we suffer, we will not suffer in silence, nor add to the 
shame of slavery the turpitude of enduring without at least 
clanking our chains, although the noise of them may ring 
discordantly in the ears of our oppressors. I came here, my 
Lord Duke, to vindicate the Catholic Association. I came 
here to prove the negative — for we are ready to prove it — 
to prove that there was no justifiable reason for inflicting an 
additional penal law upon us. In ordinary cases, he who 
asserts that there are grounds for new legislative enactments, 
it is his duty to prove the affirmative. Although English 
justice, throughout her tribunals, has sanctioned, as one of 
the first principles of human right, that he who makes the 
assertion is not to be taken at his word — for if he were, 
whose property or life would be secure? — yet we made a 
present of this sacred maxim to the administration of Eng- 
lish justice and the Legislature ; for we came prepared to 
prove the negative, and to demonstrate that no grounds did 
exist to authorise, nay, even to palliate the injustice which 
they were about to commit. And they refused to hear us. 
In that humble effort there were many things to be done. 
The first, my Lord Duke, would have been to show the 
necessity for the existence of the Catholic Association. The 
second, would have been to prove the constitution and 
nature of the Association. The third, to meet seriatim the 
assertions upon which we were sought to be crushed. The 
fourth would have been to canvass the measure — the man- 
ner of the thing — the nature of the instrument by which we 
were to be suppressed. And then would remain the pleas- 
ing duty which brings me to the fifth branch of my subject, 
that of appealing through this Meeting, and on the wings of 
the Press (which will still, in spite of every effort, illumine 
the public mind, and give to truth a final triumph over inte- 
rested bigotry,) to appeal thus to the hearts and the judg- 
ments of Englishmen at large ; and as their virtual repre- 



225 



sentatives, and some actual ones have refused to listen to us, 
to lay our claims before the tribunal of the mighty people of 
this great empire, and appeal to the conscience, the huma- 
nity, the sense of honour, and, above all, to the generosity 
of the English people. I shall proceed then, in that order; 
first, showing that it was necessary to form some such 
society as the Catholic Association. But how shall I com- 
press, within a reasonable compass, what I have to say on 
that subject ? I know not how I shall epitomise the history 
of six centuries and a-half of goading oppression, and perpe- 
tual rapine, with renewed instances of mockery of civil 
right. How is it possible, within the limits, wide as they 
are, which I have chalked out for myself, to sum up all 
that mass of guilt which has inflicted misery upon the Irish 
people, and made them, in the most fruitful part of the 
world, with the most excellent harbours, with navigable 
rivers intersecting their lands, with a soil teeming with fer- 
tility, with mountains green with growing herbage that feed 
thousands of flocks — made a people, I say, amidst all that 
natural wealth, in the midst of that scene of plenty, the 
most wretched, poor, impoverished, clotheless, houseless 
race that ever yet inhabited the globe. How is it pos- 
sible for me to bring before you the multitude of facts 
which have produced that disastrous result, and which 
made it not only a right, but a sacred duty for every man 
who respects liberty and loves human kind — for every 
man who has a Christian or charitable feeling, to exhaust 
every effort of his life, and to be ready to lay down that 
life, if necessary, in a legitimate struggle, to alter the face 
of things, and give happiness, and comfort, and wealth, se- 
curity and peace to the oppressed, but faithful, and feel- 
ing, to the starving, but yet gay and hearty people ? Let 
me, however, begin. From the year — I begin far after the 
deluge — from the year 1172, when the first invasion took 
place in Ireland, down to the Reformation, the Irish inha- 
bitants repeatedly petitioned to be admitted to an equality 
of rights, and to have the benefit o: English law. They 
were repeatedly refused. Why was it ? because the people 
of England had an interest in that refusal ? No ; it was 
because there was a party in Ireland which would wish to 
enrich itself without labour in the spoils of others — to be 
wealthy by means of the services of their helots. It was 
that Spartan principle which made the rejection permanent, 
constant, universal. At the period of the Reformation, my 
Lord Duke, — at that period when Ireland was called upon 
at the will of the monarch to change its' religion, the Irish 



226 



petitioned again to have the benefit of English law. Oh ! 
who knows, amongst the enthusiasts of the various sects and 
persuasions of Christianity, which of them can tell, that if 
that request had been acceded to, that if English law had 
been extended to the Irish — who can tell that the Protestant 
religion would not have found as easy an access amongst the 
English ? and Bigotry herself may weep over the rejection, 
and may be as fresh as ever to repeat her experiments. I own 
it candidly, I am not sorry it was rejected. Much as I value 
English liberty, there is one thing, let it be the badge of 
my slavery or not, which I value still more for myself, and 
that is in my person the preservation of that faith which I 
sincerely believe, and which I do love and revere the more 
because 1 know and feel, and protest in the presence of 
Him who measures my words and shall judge me, that it is 
quite consistent with the most perfect charity to all, and the 
most complete equalization of civil rights in every age and 
in every clime. Perhaps there are many here, who will 
hear for the first time, that it was only in the year 1612, now 
213 years ago, that the distinction between English subject 
and Irish enemy was abolished for the first time in Ireland, 
and that it was in that year it became any offence at all to be 
a mere Irishman ; so that if I had lived 213 years ago, there 
is not a man present who would not be at full liberty, with- 
out offending any law of man, instead of stopping my mouth 
by a gagging bill, to stop my existence by striking me to 
the earth, because I do admit that I am, in the language of 
that day, " a mere Irishman." It was in the year before 
that Sir John Davis, an English lawyer of eminence and 
humanity, went that Munster circuit, and at Limerick, tried 
a man for the murder of a person styled in the indictment 
to be William Thompson. What did the man in the dock 
plead ? He did not deny that he had committed the base 
murder — he did not deny that he had broken, in the silence 
of the night, into the dwelling of his neighbour — he did not 
deny that his hands were red with the blood of assassina- 
tion — he denied not one, or any, of these propositions im- 
puted against him. He merely denied that the deceased 
man's name was Wm. Thompson ; he pleaded that that was 
an assumed name — that his real name was Timothy O'He- 
deriscoll — that he was merus Hibernians, from which he de- 
duced the perfectly legitimate conclusion in point of law, 
pro qnod, it was lawful for him to put him to death. Did 
the prosecutor, as we say in law, demur to that plea ? No, 
my Lord Duke, he did not; he admitted that the law was 
so, and he took, what we call, a collateral issue on the fact. 



227 



He said, true it is, the man was named Timothy O f Hede- 
riscoll, at his baptism ; but he came into the allegiance of 
our Lord the King : he ceased to be merits Hibernicus — he 
became Hibernicus domini regis. And what conclusion did 
he draw from that ? i( Inasmuch, as you have admitted the 
killing of the man, yet you shall not go scot free, as for a 
mere Irishman ; but you are liable to a fine of three marks." 
The case went to trial. It is reported by Sir John Davis. 
Oh ! you imagine 1 am painting from my fancy, drawing 
from my invention : I am talking of a matter of fact ; it is 
recorded in one of the dullest books imaginable — a law 
book. The fact was proved at the trial ; but Timothy 
O'Hederiscoll had changed his name to Wm. Thompson, 
and was admitted to the allegiance of the King ; and the 
fellow who cut the throat of the poor man did not go scot 
free, for he was sentenced to pay three marks, and not to 
be discharged from prison until he had duly paid the fine ! 
That was the state of Ireland up to l6l2. A new ingredi- 
ent in the cup of dissension had, in the interval, been thrown 
in. A poisonous ingredient had been mixed in the cup, 
around which the nation should have communicated in 
peace and harmony. Religious distinctions had been estab- 
lished ; the distinction between Englishmen and Irishmen 
1 was put an end to by the statute of 1612 ; I believe the 6th 
of James I, But religious dissension prevented the possi- 
bility of union. It only prevented it through the medium of 
those who were interested then, as they are interested now, 
in keeping up division ; for it is the same baneful influence 
of private interest which still poisons the sacred cup. — 
Those who were interested found the other ingredient in the 
cup — religious dissension. But there had intervened a pe- 
riod when the Catholic religion became once more the domi- 
nant one. King Henry the Eighth could demolish 
the monasteries, and strike down the splendid cathe- 
drals, and we who live beside their ruins can see the miser- 
able samples of wretched architecture (they do not deserve 
the name) which now usurp their places. And we are told, 
forsooth, the men who raised these edifices, and whose 
ninds seemed warmed into an elevation almost participating 
)f the sacred functions to which these structures were dedi- 
cated — those men, we are told, were savages, uninformed, 
iliterate; and we behold the wise and the mighty of modern 
imes building near them something which resembles a pig- 
tye tied to a sentry-box. Henry and Elizabeth made the 
Votestant religion, the religion of the English portion of the 
ommunity. But the Plunketts, the Prestons, and the Es- 



228 



mondes, and many other of the English families, adhered, 
with desperate pertinacity, to the faith of their sires ; and, 
although persecution reigned around them, and although 
their princely honours were often struck to the ground, and 
although their blood (shed in many a struggle) was a mar- 
tyred testimony to the sincerity of their belief, yet they per- 
severed in their ancient religion, until, by a revolution in 
that respect, Queen Mary mounted the throne, and the per- 
secuted Catholic religion obtained the ascendancy in Ire- 
land. Prcesentibus odiis was truly applied to the feelings of 
the men who then became predominant. For the reign of 
hatred was fresh ; persecution was still reeking in her gory 
garments — she was still stalking around the land ; — and 
what was the conduct of the Irish Catholics at that period ? 
Did they retaliate persecution for persecution ? Did they 
take up the sword which had been unsheathed against them 
and plunge it in the bosom of their Protestant neighbours ? 
Oh ! I thank my God that I am an Irish Catholic ; for, 
though the Catholic religion was restored to power and 
splendor, and united to the state, — and though armed with 
the means of vengeance — yet there was not a single instance 
of Protestant punishment. Let any one consult page 30 of 
Sir Henry Parnell's " Historical Account," and he will find, 
by that amiable Protestant Gentleman, the fact triumphantly 
stated, and this conclusion drawn (which was the source of 
their only consolation in after times) that the only religion, 
Protestant or Catholic, which, from a state of fear and per- 
secution, had been raised by momentary success into power, 
and that did not retaliate persecution, was that embraced 
by the Irish Catholics, But the times changed ; Elizabeth, 
and her courtiers devastated Ireland, while she was frugal 
and thrifcy at home. The wasteful swords of domestic war 
went over that beautiful land — ancient English families 
were proscribed. The Fingalls and the Desmonds were 
too rich to be subjects — and their English blood was no 
more spared than that which flowed through the veins of 
the O' Nei^s of Clandaboy. In one promiscuous confisca- 
tion these properties were consumed. I would not de- 
tain you in reciting individual instances of the bar- 
barous cruelties, where those who surrendered on the faith 
of treaties, met the death of felons in the teeth of 
express stipulations. Let us pass over these scenes. They 
dwell upon my mind, not for purposes of vengeance, but 
to be called now and then to my remembrance, that we 
might all join in one universal execration — in one universal 
hatred — for I will use the word of the principle which die- 



229 



tated such measures. However, the force of numbers 
preserved power, property, and government, and a more 
mitigated spirit prevailed in the House of Stuart — the un- 
fortunate and often guilty, but perhaps over-condemned 
House of Stuart. It may be allowable to drop a tear over 
their virtues ; even in those who execrate the arbitrary 
principles they would have introduced into the British 
Constitution, had they not been luckily hurled from the 
throne. The Cromwellian usurpation came next to aggra- 
vate the dissensions by national hostility. The sword of the 
Lord and Gideon smote the wild Irish. — They were hunted 
to their mountain dens by those who drenched the sacred 
Word of God in the glowing blood of their fellow-creatures. 
Desolation spread through the land ; confiscations and 
forfeitures followed ; a fortunate restitution gave stability to 
the throne, and took away from lawless ambition that im- 
mense prize in the lottery of life, which the chances of 
supreme power gave to every man who thought he had 
talents to raise himself above his fellow-creatures — a prize 
of which the wisdom of succession deprives that lawless 
ambition, which I trust in these realms it will ever continue 
to do. The restoration was marked by this : — the Duke of 
York, afterwards James the Second, took 30,000 acres of 
the forfeited property of the Irish Catholics — forfeited in a 
war which they carried on for his father, as long as he lived, 
and for his brother as soon as the martyred Mood of his 
father was spilled on the scaffold. He came to the throne — 
he continued holding the property of the Irish Catholics, 
It was the opinion of the people of England to reject him ; 
it was the principle of the people of Ireland that they ought 
not to reject him, for they had fully imbibed those mistaken 
principles of divine and indefeasible right — they did not 
make the distinction which every rational mind should draw 
between hereditary right and that claim which was capable 
of being broken through for atrocious crimes against the 
Constitution. They^had, in fact, embraced the-principles of 
modern legitimacy. They rallied round his throne — they 
drew the sword for him. They assembled their Parliament ; 
Ireland was in their power, and the Irish Catholics were 
again triumphant. What was their conduct? Did they 
persecute their Protestant brethren— did they inflict severi- 
ties on their persecutors? No. They were the descendants 
of those Catholics who had been in power before in the 
reign of Mary, and who had, for the second time in the 
history of mankind, enabled this fact to be recorded, 80 
honorable to the Irish Catholics — that the second time th»F f 
X 



220 



were in power, their power was never stained by one par- 
ticle of persecution. James the Second fled the field — he left 
them to fight the contest out. He procured the unnatural 
alliance with France. There was no cordiality in that alli- 
ance. The French flag, not the Royal standard, floated on 
the walls of Athlone, where Irish hearts were its principal 
barrier. It threw coldness over the Irish nation, and in the 
apathy produced by that galling insult, the fatal field of 
Aughrim was lost by treachery, mixed, no doubt, with 
British valour. Limerick was surrounded,— the assailants 
advanced twice. Twenty-eight thousand men in arms were 
in the city, and would have been capable of defending it for 
half a century, until congregated Europe might have assist- 
ed the fallen brother ; for in every age the doctrine of 
indefeasible right is dear to kings. However, fair terms 
were offered. William, whose character stood high, offered 
fair and just terms. " Your King," he observed to the Irish, 
ce has left the field. He has not stood the battle's brunt — 
he does not deserve that brave men should fight his cause 
whilst he is absent." The Irish listened to him. They said, 
<e we are ready to join with the English ; we are ready to 
give you a title; we are ready to become your willing sub- 
jects ; all we stipulate for is liberty of conscience. ,, — The 
terms were heard and received, but with hesitation. The 
Eldons, the Liverpools, and the Peels of the day were in 
the Cabinet— the horror of such worthy persons, at the bare 
mention of such liberty of conscience, created a pause, but 
the good sense of William over-ruled their petty scruples. 
The tears were shed, the speeches were spoken, the public 
purse was handled, still William persevered. He told the 
Irish they should have liberty of conscience. That promise 
was hastened by the certain knowledge that the French fleet 
had doubled Cape Clear, and were sailing with a western 
wind for the mouth of the Shannon. The Irish were igno- 
rant of that fact. A promise was made by King William-— 
the offer was accepted — terms of a treaty were drawn up— 
Commissioners were appointed for that purpose. The 
ancestor of that gentleman who now so worthily represents 
the city of Limerick, Sir Stephen Rice, was one of those 
appointed by the Irish. The very moment before the con- 
tract was signed, before the terms were agreed to, the French 
fleet arrived and anchored beyond Tarbert, with reinforce- 
ments of men, cavalry, ammunition, and arms. Some of the 
more fiery spirits of the Irish at that time were for suspending 
the treaty. They exclaimed, "we have signed no treaty; fortu- 
nately the terms are not agreed upon; here is a force which wil 1 



231 



enable us in three days to send King William back to Dublin/' 
But what said the general army? "No; Irish honour is 
engaged, it cannot be — it is a sacred bond." They sent 
instantly, and with a generous impatience, to tell the 
French Admiral that he might return back to his King, for 
that they had chosen their's. The treaty was ratified ; it 
was signed and sealed — public faith was pledged to it ; it 
had the solemn sanction of Royal authority ; it remains en- 
rolled in the Tower of London, a record of Irish fidelity — 
and, oh, let me not be called bigotted or narrow-minded, 
when I am obliged to add, of English shame. For the 
treaty performed by us is not performed by them ; and I 
came here to England, a petitioner, to claim the benefit of 
that treaty, and to proclaim, as I do now, that it is trea- 
chery to violate it, and it is a crime to continue it. — There 
is a reluctance even in the faction that governs Ireland to 
plunge suddenly into guilt. It was violated in proportion 
as it was safe to violate it. When the victories of Marlbo- 
rough placed England upon the pinnacle of glory — I believe 
they called it so in those days, as they do at present — and 
when it was certain that the English Ministry were perfectly 
secure from foreign foes, they turned with kindness towards 
Ireland, and in the excess of their soft compassion, they 
enacted that code of laws called the Penal Code, the ema- 
ciating cruelty of which was the theme of many a brilliant 
oration of the Grattan over whom we have wept, and the 
characters of which Montesquieu has described as being all 
traced in letters of blood. That code divided the husband 
from the wife — that code divided the son from the father. 
It stript property from every man who should attempt to 
to earn it, reversed the commandment of "let husband and 
wife be united," and reversed the sacred command of God, 
delivered in thunder, which directed the child " to honour 
its father and mother," for it rewarded the child the mo- 
ment he daringly violated the command. I am an Irish 
agitator. I don't deny it. But let it not be imputed to me 
as a grievous crime, that I do taunt England with this ; that 
that atrocity was perpetrated under an English Govern- 
ment. I do not dwell on it. I am ready to forget it — I am 
anxious to forgive it — I have forgiven it. I am ready to 
co-operate with England against the world — and it was 
that readiness brought me here, in the sincerity of my 
heart, and in the conviction of my judgment. But I am 
not ready to let my country and my religion be insulted and 
trampled upon by calumnious falsehoods. And I am as lit- 
tle ready to crouch in timid silence from the assertion of 
X 2 



232 



fact and the publication of truth. — Year after year, during 
the reign of the two first Princes of the House of Bruns- 
wick, new fetters were devised. The Goulbourns of that 
day came freighted to Ireland, where no noxious four-footed 
animal thrives, but where the poisonous creatures of the 
two-legged species batten and fatten, and enrich themselves 
— the Goulburns of that day came over with enactment after 
enactment. The reign of the third Prince commenced ; it 
opened a prospect of more favourable times. George the 
Third — whose memory is and ever will be recorded with 
gratitude in the minds of the Irish people, over whose de- 
clining years we have wept the sincere tear of grateful affec- 
tion — over whose grave we would hang with the recollec- 
tion that we w r ould have for a father and friend — George the 
Third ascended the throne, and then, for the first time, the 
Catholics formed an Association ; not by that name, to be 
sure, but — 

" A rose by any other name would smell as sweet/' 

It was called the Catholic Committee. It produced great 
alarm. The false friends of that day actually said, " Oh, 
we are excessively anxious for the Catholic cause, but for 
God's sake put down your Committee/' And let me here 
observe that in enmity there are three degrees : — the posi- 
tive, the comparative, and the superlative. I take them 
thus : — There are your enemies, which is the positive de- 
gree; there are the bitter enemies, the comparative; and 
there are your false friends, the superlative. The Catholics 
had actually the audacity to congratulate the Sovereign on 
his accession to the throne — to sa}^, " We rejoice that, after 
more than half a century, a native-born prince, an English- 
man, has ascended the throne of England. We look/* said 
the fond Catholics of that day, (i to English justice — Eng- 
lish humanity — English generosity." It was actually con- 
sidered a species of misprision of treason, and they narrowly 
escaped being committed to the common prisons of Dublin ; 
and it was only through the generous interference of the 
youthful Sovereign that the crime was forgiven of proclaim- 
ing their loyalty. England went on — but I enter not into 
the discussion of American rights. Every man now rejoices 
that there are ten millions of freemen preserving and improv- 
ing upon the English Constitution at the other side of the 
Atlantic. It is a resting-place, where the foot stands firm, 
and defies the advances of the tyrannical principles of the 
Holy Alliance, laughs at the whiskered Pards and rude 



233 



Cossacks, and the thousands upon thousands of the hire- 
ling slaves of the Holy Alliance monarchy. It makes it 
impossible that civil and religious liberty should ever perish 
upon this globe, and gives a resting-place, where the hu- 
man mind dwells with satisfaction and triumph. The Ame- 
ricans were laughed to scorn. They applied to the House 
of Commons to be heard : their claims were resisted by 
restrictive Bills ; but I will do the Parliament of George 
the Third the justice to recollect, that before they struck, 
they heard. But let me not be supposed to make any insi- 
nuation of under or improper threatening — I am not here 
to do it. I am the humble suppliant for favour, — not the 
threatener of any power or any authority. But whilst 
America become powerful, and the banner of England fell 
beneath her undisciplined legions— whilst Burgoyne surren- 
dered at Saratoga — whilst France, Spain, and Holland had 
joined them, and the youthful chivalry of France, headed 
by the gallant and romantic La Fayette, were fighting her 
battles, and when any thing but victory crowned the British 
efforts, when the Catholic Committee sat day after day ; 
their sittings became permanent ; they went before the 
Government, and said, Europe is against you in arms, 
America is up ; you want allies ; — here they are, the Irish 
people, for you. How was that offer met ? It was met 
only by this insulting preposition : " We cannot relieve you," 
said the Statesmen of England of that day, " because you 
refuse to take the oath of allegiance." What was the first 
petition of the Catholic Committee ? " We refuse no Oath 
of Allegiance but that which is coupled with spiritual tenets, 
which we cannot take— we respect oaths. Nay, it is the 
pure virtue of oaths that keeps us out of the Constitution. 
We will tell you what oath we will not take— we will not 
t ike any which trenches on our faith and belief— we will 
tell you what oath we will take— any oath that morally cer- 
tifies our allegiance to our Sovereign." There lived a Bishop 
in Ireland on that day, who resembled in virtue him whom 
I had the gratification to hear preach a truly Christian doc- 
trine, yesterday, the venerable Norwich. — That model of 
Christian Prelates, I care not to what communion they may 
belong, Catholic or Protestant, showing himself to be the 
Priest of his God, by endeavouring to diffuse the charity 
that is Divine amongst all men. Such Bishop was the Pre- 
late of Derry. In the House of Lords, he declared that 
he was instructed by the Catholic Committee, to say that 
the Catholics were ready to take the Oath of Allegiance. It 
was denied. It was asserted positively that they would not 
X 3 



234 



take it. He was taunted and ridiculed, 'the ribaldry of 
the back benches was poured out in aid of those who were 
put forward to speak in the front. Cheers were reiterated 
which, possibly, still rang in some ears. He answered, 
" I'll put the matter to the test, I will not ask civil rights 
for the Catholics, I will bring in an Act of Parliament 
merely enabling them to make Oath of Allegiance, and giv- 
ing them nothing for taking it." That was the first step 
which the Catholic Committee of that day made in Catholic 
Emancipation, The Act was brought in — nothing was gi- 
ven — no concessions — no privileges ! Oh, yes, the most 
precious ; the opportunity of confounding their calumnia- 
tors. The ancestor of my Noble Friend, Lord Killeen, 
whose father is at the head of the Irish nobility and Irish 
people (a station which the members of his family have 
filled, and will continue to fill, with the entire satisfaction 
of a grateful people), that Nobleman, surrounded, accom- 
panied, and adorned by the Catholic nobility of Ireland, 
proceeded to the Court-house of Trim, in the county of 
Westmeath. The moment the Act was passed, and the 
Judge of Assize arrived, it was a subject of curiosity, thou- 
sands upon thousands came to see if they would take the 
oath, if they would actually kiss the book. They took the 
oath, all Catholic Ireland followed them. That oath they 
have preserved inviolate — that oath they will ever observe 
— The Catholic Committee thus strengthened, pressed their 
claims upon Parliament. Our disasters in America— the 
growing power of Europe — the equipments of fleets — Ame- 
rica on the verge of being lost— Ireland might then have 
shaken off the yoke, for it was then a yoke. Under these 
circumstances, Parliament passed the Act of 1778. And if 
England lost America, she preserved Ireland. That statute 
was followed by the universal union of the Irish people, 
which formed itself into ranks of volunteers, and allowed 
England, in time of war, to dispense with the presence of 
every single soldier in Ireland. The passing of that Act, li- 
berated the entire military force,and from Cape Clear to the 
Giant's Causeway, there was not one British soldier, and 
Ireland was never so strong in her attachment to England. 
The concession then made, related principally to private 
property. England was indebted to the Catholic Committee. 
The names of the O'Connors, the Currys, the Plunkets, 
and the Prestons, the names of the men who achieved that 
mighty service, are perhaps fading in your memories. But 
the name of the Macdermots, who were at the head of the 
commercial interests of the Catholics, are too deeply engra- 



235 



ven in my mind ever to be forgotten. But they have 
perished from English recollection. That Committee was, 
I will venture to assert, the salvation of England. It kept 
the empire together ; it enabled England, accompanied with 
Ireland, to meet that frightful torrent which the revolu- 
tionary lava of 1789 poured forth, and thus, perhaps, has 
been the means of protecting and preserving civilization 
and Constitutional liberty for countless ages. This Com- 
mittee persevered in its efforts. The statute of 1 778 was 
followed by that of 1782 ; but I pray you take notice, that 
when this last statute was passed, the bigots of that day 
were not to blame for their concessions. These con- 
cessions were as lachrymose, and as unyielding as those of 
modern statesmen. They did not make the concessions of 
1782, till the combined fleets of France, Spain, and Holland, 
for the first time in modern history, swept the British 
Channel with a broom at the mast head, and the mighty 
flags of England, for the first time, was shrunk beneath the 
ray of the combined standard, and sought (oh, is it credible,) 
for security within English harbours. It was at that 
period the second concession was made. And what was the 
first act of Irishmen at that period ? It was this ; they 
voted, at Irish expense, 32,000 seamen in addition to the 
English complement, and the flag of England, again trium- 
phant, blazed, and I trust the blaze will never be extin- 
guished until the period when all nations shall be dissolved, 
and man shall cease to have any existence. The Catholic 
Committee continued its labours ; Ireland had asserted 
rights, respecting which I will not trust myself to speak — I 
need not. The French Revolution commenced its progress 
— Jacobinism reared its hideous head, and I do not use the 
term which has been abused in its application to many good 
men, but I use it in its proper signification — towards those 
who would subvert the Altar that they might reach at the 
Throne, and have them both flooded with the blood of 
human victims. France had already broken into the Nether- 
lands ; the spirit, not of liberty, but of licentiousness, was 
abroad. The good sense, the firm, sound, manly intellect of 
England was awakened ; the name of liberty in England 
herself was always dear ; rational freedom was her birth- 
right and her charter, but the sense of the people learnt to 
distinguish between the name and the thing, and made her 
choice between real and substantial liberty, and the mad- 
dened ideas and intoxicating draughts of revolutionary 
licentiousness. But how did the case stand with respect to 
Ireland, where many a symptom of the disease had been 



236 

exhibited ? The bigots of that day yielded to the honest 
exertions of the Catholic Convention. The Catholic people 
of Ireland came together in the counties and towns. It was 
not then illegal to elect representatives. They elected repre- 
sentatives for every county and town in Ireland, and in the 
year 1792, those delegates met together in Dublin. They 
met together, not for any revolutionary purpose, but to stay 
the progress of revolution — not for a traitorous object, but 
to stay the progress of treason. They addressed the Parlia- 
ment — they came to the foot of the throne ; their delegates 
arrived here under better auspices than we have come, but 
not with purer intentions. They approached the Sovereign 
upon his throne ; the strength of the intellect of his graci- 
ous Majesty, George the Third, was then in its vigour ; he 
received the delegation; recommended their claims to Par- 
liament ; the statutes of 1792 and 1793 were passed ; the 
Revolution scourged and almost devastated every state of 
Europe ; but it has been shut out from England and Ire- 
land, because the Catholic people were easily purchased by 
a portion of their rights ; and though they received but an 
instalment of what was due to them, they gave the full and 
flowing measure of their young blood to float in safety the 
ark of the British Constitution. England wanted us then, 
it is true. She held out the hand but half extended ; her 
generosity to us was qualified, whilst we repaid her with the 
full flowing measure of the Irish heart. She has been 
saved, and has triumphed, and it became the duty of the 
Catholics to congregate in the time of peace — peaceably and 
quietly to assemble, and call for the remaining instalment of 
their rights. Twenty shillings in the pound have not yet 
been paid — treaties are not yet observed, and we tender a 
perpetual, irresistible alliance at the small price of giving 
us our own. But think you that the faction was idle dur- 
ing this period ? The rebellion that was fomented, as I 
could easily prove, for the purposes of bringing about the 
Union, had created, increased, and envenomed the diffe- 
rences between religious sects in Ireland. There came a 
distinction between Protestant and Protestant, more marked 
and defined than that between Catholic and Protestant ; 
because the distinction between Catholic and Protestant is 
that between two different sects and persuasions of Chris- 
tians. But between Protestant and Orangeman there was a 
wall of separation raised, that was built with an infernal 
hand on one side, and supported by charity on the other. 
The Protestant left the fell Orangeman to prowl on his 
Catholic fellow-subjects, nncountenanced by the genuine 



237 



Protestant, and disclaimed by him as having any participa- 
tion in his guilt — aye, or even in his creed. For the Orange- 
man's creed is not Christianity, as the Protestant's is ; it 
partakes of nothing more of religion than the rancour that 
in some minds unfortunately attends it ; and the Orange- 
man thus constituted, filled almost every situation in the 
State. He was to be found in the highest offices — the Post- 
office, the Custom-house, the Yeomanry, almost universally 
in the Magistracy, the Bench sometimes, the Grand Juries, 
the Petty Juries, the Sheriffs, even down to the Court 
Bailiff. The passport of station and promotion was bearing 
the Orange flag, and being able to communicate the Orange 
sign. What were the consequences? The consequence 
was, that the country became disturbed — that those who 
could not obtain justice sought for revenge. Oh ! surely I 
do not justify them when I state this history, that those who 
could not find relief from the laws of society, burst the 
bonds of society, and took savage vengeance upon their 
oppressors ! Ireland became desolate. The only intelli- 
gence from that unhappy land, was conveyed in columns 
which detailed outrages upon life and property. The night 
was illuminated by the glare of the haggard, mill, or house, 
as it blazed ; the day was filled with tales of horror, and a 
servile war threatened. At such a period as that it was 
that the Catholic Association commenced its labours. Was 
it not loyal — was it not just — was it not necessary that some 
men should come forward and interpose between the people 
and their passion — that some persons should come in to 
inspire them with confidence in Government, recommend 
patience to the persecuted, and hold out a hope to them of 
better times ? Let me not be told that I calumniate any 
persons, or that I speak in a voice of censure merely, and 
when I cannot be replied to. One of the most sacred of 
the duties which I had to perform in coming here, was, to 
offer at the bar of the House of Commons evidence of the 
guilt of the Orange faction — of the robberies and devasta- 
tions they have committed, and of the blood they continued 
daily to shed, until their arm was arrested by the shield of 
the Catholic Association. Oh ! contrast this conduct with 
ours ! Their Deputy Grand-Master was at the bar of the 
House — he was sifted, but did he show any willingness^to 
disclose what the Orange Association was — to give its 
details — to open its prison-house ? W T e come here with all 
our books and documents — we come here with every letter 
and paper — we come here for the most unlimited explana- 
tion at the bar of the House, in the tribunal of justice, no 



t 

238 

matter who examined us. The Orangeman stood at the 
bar of the House of Commons What was his conduct ? — 
Did he court inquiry ? No; he claimed a shield of protec- 
tion for his oath. No man knows what occurs in the House 
of Commons : such was the maxim inculcated upon the 
good sense of the people ; and yet every body happened to 
know something of it. Taking up that maxim, if by any 
courtesy I could get within its walls — for it is courtesy 
alone can admit me there, though the kindness of my 
countrymen would waft me upon its breath, if conscience 
would permit me to take the oath which bars its threshold. 
I know nothing of what has occurred, save from what is 
reported in the newspapers. It is reported that Mr. Peel 
opposed our admission, and taunted its supporters by asking, 
u Have you heard the opponents of that measure ?" But it 
does not appear by the newspapers, that he was replied to 
by this statement, " that the Orangemen were at the bar," 
but you yourselves prevented us from forcing them to make 
disclosures. The majority that cheered you now cheered 
you then ; the majority that cheered you with taunts of us, 
cheered you also when we had an opportunity of hearing 
the Orangemen, and pressed to hear, but you prevented us, 
and protected the Orangemen. The Orangeman did right 
to conceal his secret ; for I am ready to prove at the bar of 
the House, or elsewhere, that the password with the Orange- 
men was taken from the 68th Psalm, of the Protestant edi- 
tion, which I hold in my hand. It is in these words, verse 
23 : — " That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine 
enemies, and the tongues of thy dogs may be red through 
the same/' This I am ready to prove. — (A person cried, 
<c No.") I am glad that a voice says " No." Let that per- 
son give me an opportunity of proving it, and I give up 
Catholic Emancipation. Is it not proved already ? Why 
was the Deputy Grand-Master of Orangemen silent then ? 
Why was the shield of Parliament interposed between him 
and disclosure? Was it a matter of merit? 'It could 
not be that he was innocent, for innocence needs no dis- 
guise ; but it was this — that the Orangeman's foot was 
ready to be wet with the blood of his enemies— that the 
tongue of his dogs was ready to be wet with the same. — 
Do you think this is mere theory? — Oh no! Eighteen 
months—within that short period — I will not detain you by 
drawing general pictures of the atrocities by which the 
Orangemen gave practical proofs of the realization of that 
text ; 1 will not take you through the disastrous history of 
Ireland, and point out all their crimes—a folio volume of 



239 



the Statutes, large as it is, would not contain a tithe of 
them— but will take you to Mr. Brownlow's county of 
Armagh, to limit you to within the short space of eighteen 
months before the Catholic Rent commenced ; I will state 
to you three cases, by name and date, where the most atro - 
cious Orange murders had been committed on the Catholic 
inhabitants, without any other provocation than the profes- 
sion of the faith of their fathers. One of these, whose 
name was James Gormley, the only son and only support 
of an aged mother, was shot to death by an armed party of 
Orangemen, for the crime of being present at their annual 
parade, on the 12th of July, 1822. A sister was with him, 
and narrowly escaped with her life ; but is still a maniac. 
The heads of that party were the two sons of the Rev. Mr. 
Smith. The murderers were tried, but, as my informant 
says, of course acquitted. That was one of the cases in 
which the Catholic Association procured for the people the 
shadow of a trial, such as it is in the Northern Counties, 
where the Orangemen are murderers, and Jurors, and 
Sheriffs. The sister is a maniac, and think you, that in her 
wild and disordered cries, there is not a heart-rending 
prayer to the Deity, that the God of Mercy does not hear 
the insane shriek, and that the madness that saves her from 
the horrors of reality and reason, is not pleading powerfully 
against the murderers of her brother— There was no mur- 
der from the 12th July, 1S22, till the 12th July, 1823. On this 
latter day the usual Orange procession took place at Armagh, 
when a person of the name of Michael Campbell was shot, 
and the party spent the evening in festivity at the house of 
the murderer. The blood also remains unrequitted and un- 
revenged, for he was killed and nobody killed him — that is 
the amount of the fact and of the verdict. The next case 
was, that of Patrick Hughes, who in February or March, 
1822, was returning from a fair, and was shot by the 
Orangemen without the slightest pretence. The Orange 
murderer lay behind the hedge. They have tried for this 
murder, and as my informant says, of course acquitted, — >, 
Am I talking of imaginary things? This we would have 
proved at the bar of the House of Commons. Englishmen 
may understand why the justice of a trial was refused ; why 
we were condemned with the expedition of Turkish Cadis ; 
we were condemned because we would have proved these 
facts, and shown that all these murders were committed — 
how ? They occurred in the same neighbourhood, they 
were committed by yeomen with the King's arms and am- 
munition — the King ! it is not thus he would wish to treat hi* 



240 

Irish subjects. When he stood in no odour of popularity 
among you, he came among us. Of course he had heard 
much of the licentiousness and wildness of the Irish peo- 
ple : he had heard of their disloyalty, their turbulence and 
propensity to crime, and every thing that our base press 
and your base press said on the subject, and base it is, and 
continues to be a great evil. He had heard that, but did it 
make any impression on his generous mind ? I hope it did, 
because I like to see him standing upon his native braverv 
(as the Monarch of the British isles ought to be brave), I 
like to see him giving the lie to these calumnies, by trusting 
himself alone, and unarmed, without the shield of cavalry, 
infantry, or police constable, amidst his Irish people, 
amongst the calumniated peasantry of that country. He 
wanted no guards, no protection, for there was not a hand 
which would not have borne him, not a heart that would 
not have poured its living blood before him, the generosity 
and bravery of his conduct were held, as they always would 
be in Ireland, and the memory of that day has attached the 
people of that country to him in those enthusiastic rivets of 
affection, which will always bind those whose generosity is 
confided in. I saw him again — I saw him at his departure 
from Ireland. I had the honour and the pleasure to stand 
near him. He beheld on the cliffs, as they rose before him, 
two hundred thousand of his Irish subjects. Soldier or po- 
lice constable was not amongst them, but the politeness, the 
courtesy, I will call it, which arises from affection, was 
amidst them, and the assemblage of infants was not more 
playful or more innocent. Not a breath ruffled the serenity 
of the scene, the magical influence of attachment held sway, 
and in that turbulent and disorded multitude, there was dis- 
played the courtesy of courts, and a decorum becoming the 
walls of a palace. I stood, it was my duty, near him, and 
I saw as he beheld the scene, the tear of manly sensibility 
glisten in his eye ; and I, who seek noplace or office, (there 
is none open to me, or if there were I would spurn it,) — I, 
whose allegiance may be calumniated, but which is as true 
as it is sincere, will carry with me to my grave the recol- 
lection of that tear, and if his service requires that that 
grave should open in the space of one half hour, here am I 
a volunteer, Oh ! it is in the reign of this King, that this 
penal law is sought to be infixed upon the Irish people — it 
is this which aggravates it most to the people of Ireland, 
that the ministers of George the Fourth procure his sanc- 
tion to an Act of Parliament which leaves their lives and 
properties so insecure. The Catholic Association — (but I 



241 



tremble when I think how much I have said, and how much 
I have to say) — our Monarch left his command after him to 
his people to entertain sentiments of mutual affection. — 
That command has been obeyed by one class of the people 
— that command has been violated by the other. I charge 
the Orange faction with its violation, and I came to the bar 
of the House of Commons to prove my case. I boast of the 
perfect sincerity with which the Catholics observed it, I 
did not come here to prove that they sincerely observed it, 
because the most malignant of their enemies have not the 
audacity to accuse them of its violation. Eleven counties 
were disturbed ; in each of them the Insurrection Act wa - 
in full operation ; the army was increased, in time of peace, 
to 36,300 men ; a stipendary police, upon the plan of the 
gens d'arwerie of France, at which your ancestors would 
have trembled with indignation, was distributed throughout 
the counties of Ireland; the Insurrection Act made it a 
transportable felony for the wretched peasant to spend one 
moment of the weariness of the night in looking at the 
moon and stars ; with Catholic blood shed by Orangemen ; 
with unrequited blood spilt, and murders committed, by 
the peasantry, as their only mode of being rid of oppres- 
sion, seeking the transports as a place of refuge, and look- 
ing at the gaols as a kind of necessary transit to death ; at 
that period it was that the Catholic Association formed itself 
into existence. I ask, Englishmen, was it not our duty to 
associate ? Was it not our duty to tell the people, " the 
law itself is good, and the administration of it is pure, as 
dispensed by some of the judges, for I am not flattering 
enough to say by all." It may be well for third and fourth 
rate barristers of my country, who have been wafted into 
Parliament, to laud the judges — they may find their ac- 
count in it. Oh ! for the disinterestedness of senatorial 
dignity ! Oh ! for the majesty of the servants who praise 
their master. Many of the judges deserve praise — I give it 
them. All we told the people was, that if you were able 
to open the portals of justice, let an universal subscription, 
so small that every man may contribute to it, but so gene- 
ral as to make a fund equal to your protection, be entered 
into. All we require is one farthing a week from your pro- 
perty ; one penny a month, one shilling a-year. Oh ! give 
us but this, and we will interpose the shield of the law 
between the Orange assassins and you. We will make you 
have a filial affection for the laws of the land, by making 
the law, for the first time, afford you paternal protection. — 
We tell vou more — that by means of this contribution we 
Y 



242 



shall be able to open the doors of both Houses of Parlia- 
ment — to detail facts to the English Legislature : we will 
open those doors to you, and even through those portals 
your complaints shall spread through the universal English 
nation, who are your enemies, or, rather, are not your 
friends, for no other reason in the world than this — that 
they are not acquainted with your sufferings and your me- 
rits ; who are prevented from pouring on the table of the 
House of Commons their universal petitions, commanding, 
as far as the people can command in that House, that they 
should do justice to the people of Ireland, simply and 
singly because they are unacquainted with the state of Ire- 
land, the baseness of the Orange faction, and the sufferings 
and merits of the Catholics. We proclaimed this through- 
out the country as the constitution of the Catholic Associa- 
tion. We said to Government, " The Irish people are na- 
turally inclined to allegiance — they are naturally inclined 
to submission to the law; it is as old as Sir John Davis, 
that no people are so pleased with even justice, even when 
administered against themselves ; it is so recorded in 
Lord Coke." We proclaimed, that to the Government we 
promised tranquillity ; have we not kept our words ? — 
Is not Ireland tranquil? Does not tranquillity spread 
from north to south ; from Cape Clear to the Giant's 
Causeway ; from the hill of Howth, to the extreme of Mr. 
Martin's Dominions. — We have kept our words, and for 
this, what is our reward ? Are we to get no recompence ? 
It may be said — it may be said, and it is true, that we 
ought to be disinterested in this ; I acknowledge that we 
were. But there are rewards which the disinterested may 
receive with honor, and which the just ought to bestow ; it 
is the rich reward of admitting us into the equal participa- 
tion of the Constitution.— -We should be loyal, and were so 
without stipulation ; but is it justice that disappoints the 
rational hope ? Have we been rewarded ? Your Peels, 
your Eldons, and your Liverpool s find fault — with what ? 
Why, that the Catholics are unanimous. Shocking ! the 
Catholics unanimous, say you ? — Why the Irish were always 
divided before. — " Why my good people of Ireland, it is 
necessary for your good Government that you be idivided 
amongst yourselves." Our unanimity raised each particular 
hair upon the wig of the Lord Chancellor — it disturbed the 
domestic cares of Lord Liverpool — it fretted the dignity of 
Mr. Peel. — This was a symptom hitherto unknown in the 
case of Ireland, and accordingly its first appearance is met 
by an Act of Parliament. The country was tranquil, and 



243 



if it continued so, what further excuse would there be for 
continuing the Orange Yeomanry of the North in arms ? 
I put it, through this assembly, to the English people, is 
there any legitimate purpose why the Orangemen of the 
North have the King's arms and the King's ammunition ? It 
is said that the North is tranquil ; for, on their own showing, 
the unprovoked murder of a Catholic is no interruption to 
that tranquility. Why, then, should the system be conti- 
nued ? It would not clo to have Ireland tranquil, for the 
system must cease to exist, and we have been accordingly 
met by penal enactments. But upon what grounds are we 
about to be put down ? First, they say there is an intem- 
perance in our speeches ; secondly, that we wished the 
tithes should be taken away from the Protestant Church, 
and given to the Catholic Clergy ; thirdly, that w T e were 
excessively wrong, and that I was so in particular (for really 
I have grown to a magnitude that I was utterly astonished 
at, since the grave and wise senators spent four long nights 
debating on the merits of one Popish agitator) in using cer- 
tain words in the address. They say that the word " hatred" 
was introduced improperly. They made one or two allega- 
tions more, that we interfered with the administration of 
justice, and above all, they accused us of the Catholic Rent. 
Suffer me very rapidly to go through these allegations. In- 
temperance of speech ! was there ever yet so absurd and 
ridiculous ground of legislation ? Are we amongst school- 
boys or old women ? for old women there are of both sexes, 
and we are amongst them. — Is it in the infancy of legislation 
or its dotage, when you talk of intemperance of discourse 
being a ground for a new law ? And observe that the law 
is sufficiently strong to punish any intemperance of speech. 
Lord Ellenborough, who is in the other world (poor dear 
man !) decided that the saying of Lord Hardwicke, " that 
he was a sheep-feeder," and publishing of Lord Redesdale, 
that " he was a stout-built special pleader," were libelous. 
—I only give you that as a specimen of that admirable 
science, our law. Intemperance, then, of speech had its 
adequate remedy ; and accordingly having had the misfor- 
tune once to speak of the great principle of the Revolution — 
of that which was the charter of George the Fourth to the 
throne ; for without it I should go begging through the 
dominions of Sardinia or §avoy for a legitimate King of 
these realms — for daring to assert, " that a period may ar- 
rive when oppression w ould exceed the measure of legitimate 
patience and endurance a principle which I proudly de- 
clare before Englishmen — for asserting that, I was dragged 
Y 2 



before 4 ' a tribunal which they supposed would be all Orange, 
which was, certainly, and oh, my heart rejoices at it ! all 
Protestants, and my fellow-countrymen-— the Irish Protes- 
tants, who composed the Parliament that passed the Acts of 
1782, and 1793; respected their oaths and their judgment, 
and, I thank them affectionately for it, scouted the ridicu- 
lous accusation. What does that prove ? This t that if 
worse had been said, it would have been prosecuted; it 
proves that a perpetual vigilance, an eternal readiness to pro- 
secute exists, and that, if a more decent pretext (and was that 
a decent pretext ?) had been offered for prosecution, it 
would have been gladly embraced. Our affairs were con- 
ducted above board, We admitted and accommodated the 
spies of our prosecutors, knowing them to be such. I 
would have produced these very spies at the bar of the 
House, to show that there was no concealment. What has 
been done notwithstanding this ? In England, in this 
enlightened, generous, and just country (for I admire your 
greatness, justice, and generosity,) we have been refused a 
hearing, and convicted of crime, upon allegations that were 
too futile or too false to be attempted to be adduced, even 
before an Orange tribunal— even with the aid of Orange 
Sheriffs of Dublin, and the Orange Aldermen and Mayor 
of the town ? What impression does it leave upon our 
mind ? Ridiculous as it was, not one particle of it was 
true. There was not one assertion made, either by tbe open 
or superlative enemies, published in the newspapers, that 
we were not ready by Catholic Peer, Merchant, Barrister, to 
prove at the bar to be utterly false. They deserved not 
refutation, yet aerial and nothing as they were, we would 
have given them a solidity, by perfectly refuting them. The 
next was a charge for designing to take away the tithes and 
Church rates, and give them to our own Clergy. I am 
ready to give up emancipation, and return to the horrors of 
the Penal Code, if any one of us ever said or thought of 
such a thing. I am ready to do m&re. There is not a Pro- 
testant in Ireland, there is not even an Orangeman, the 
" vilest of the vile/' that I am not ready to go in with, with 
more zeal than he can have to resist now, and for ever, any 
such project, as endowing the Catholic Clergy of Ireland 
with tithes. Try our sincerity — emancipate us — make it a 
condition of Emancipation, thaj: the moment our Catholic 
Clergy receive one portion and fragment of tithes, that 
instant the Emancipation Bill shall be repealed, and made 
void ipso facto, I consent. Allow me now to speak to you 
vf the Address to the people. It was prepared by me ; if 



245 



there was any thing bad in it, it might be a good reason for 
surprising me, but a very poor one for suppressing the 
Association. Let them emancipate the Catholics, aud make 
a special exception in my disfavour. I heartily consent. 
When they canvass the sincerity of the Address why do 
they not avow its object ? Has any man who has spoken of 
it with sickly affection and maudlin sentiment — have any 
of those romance-makers, denied that its object was sin- 
cerely to procure peace and quiet ? It promised tranquillity 
— who dares deny that it was successful ? They do not 
dare to say so, if they had I would bring a host of Catholic 
Clergymen and peasants to the bar— of Catholic nobility 
and gentry to demonstrate the falsehood of that denial. But 
I am stronger still, besause the malignity, ingenuity, 
and interest of our enemies have not ventured to de- 
ny its sincerity and success. Why was it successful ? 
because it was sincere— —because we were sincere. — I 
spoke to men as men should be spoken to — I appealed to 
their judgments and reasoned the question with them. I 
appealed to their passions successfully. To their fears I 
said, " England is now powerful — she is strong in an over- 
whelming force, and resistance is madness. You can pro- 
duce nothing but the guilt of crime, arming the vengeance 
of God, incensing the resentment of man, and justifying 
punishment. ,, I told them that continental Europe Would 
pour her myriads in aid of England, if England wanted it, 
and I conjured them, as they feared destruction, to abstain. 
I held out hopes of showing what might occur ; and talk- 
ing to them of English justice, and English generosity, I 
directed their views to the proper channel. But there was 
also another motive too strong to be omitted — namely, that 
resentment which oppression always generates. Was I to 
leave out that topic ? If I had done so, how should I be 
taunted for my insincerity ? u Your argument is," they 
would say, " that the crimes of the Catholics are not the 
result of natural depravity, or of a tendency to guilt, but 
of that hatred created by a sense of wrong." You say that 
the crimes of Orangemen committed upon them palliate 
such a return. If you were sincere, why did you not ap- 
peal to that feeling ? Why not conjure up that hatred also ? 
They would have said to me, " You are an Advocate : you 
have addressed many a Jury. Had you appealed to it, you 
could not be accused of creating or instigating it, because 
it had pre-existed, and was known to be an element in the 
Irish character ; and if you did not enlist our virtues at your 
side you were but mocking us." They would have said to 
Y 3 



me, " You are an Advocate, you have addressed many a 
Jury/' and they might Matter me by saying, I had extorted 
verdicts from many a prejudiced one. " What kind of an Ad- 
vocate are you, thai, in speaking to evidence of the peace of 
the country, omit the testimony of the principal witness,, 
and cease to comment on the principal ingredient ? But 
whence this fastidiousness > Is it not legitimate, after all, 
to hate robbers, oppressors, and murderers I" I could prove 
at the bar, that the Orangemen deserve all these names. Who 
do not hate the robber ? Yo®. certainly do not hate the in- 
dividual ; but when you catch him, you hang him for half 
an hour, which, perhaps, may answer his purpose as w r ell 
— but you have that general hatred to his crimes which I 
bear to Orangemen. God forbid that Tom, or William, or 
any other individual should be the object of my hatred, or 
of any other feeling than that of perfect and unatfecte^ cha- 
rity. Will you allow me to refer to a passage ©r two in a 
book, in which hatred is spoken of wm the lady-like terms, 
which the House of Commons delight to speak, but in the 
language of poetry — at least of rhyme. In the £fith Psalm, 
by Sternhokl and Hopkins, is this passage- — 

I much abhor the wicked sort, their deeds I do despise., 
I do not once to* them resort that hurtful things devise. 
O ! shut not up my soul with them, in sin that take their 
fill, 

Nor put my life among those men that seek much blood 
to spill. 

For in their hands much mischief is, their lives therewith 

abound, 

And nothing else in their right hand but bribes are to be 

found. 

That is a holy hatred that never got amongst some of the 
speculators of the House of Commons. I can conceive 
their being astonished at hate being generated against a per- 
son who has bribes to give I can understand that very 
well; but in the 130th Psalm, verses xxi. and xxiL you'll 
find — " Do not 1 hate them, O Lord, that hate thee ? and 
&m not I grieved with those that rise up against thee ? — 
Yea, I hate them with a perfect hatred, even as though 
they were mine enemies/' What! if even the language of 
inspiration be thus strong in expressions of hatred, what 
becomes of the affectation that would not employ it, not for 
mischievous, but for useful purposes, in a country long the 
object of hate ? Oh, what a sovereign contempt I have for 



247 



those men who are thus horrified and trembling at the men^ 
tion of hatred ; who countenance practical oppression with 
the utmost flippancy ; who would tarnish Christianity by 
their sickly affectation and maudlin sentiments ; who re- 
spect words, but whose deeds are atrocious, and who would 
put down the Catholic Association because it has stopped 
the effusion of Catholic blood, procured peace and tranquil- 
lity in the land, and thus struck from them the only excuse 
which they could have for continuing the reign of faction, 
or the dominion of religious persecution ? I have already 
discussed the question of the Catholic Rent. It had been 
said, that it was not voluntary. We have seen it asserted 
in the newspapers, that there were two books — one in which 
subscribers' names were inserted, which was called the 
" Red Book," a familiar appellation with men in that 
House — the other the " Black Book and I presume there 
is some such thing under the minister's table, which is 
drawn out occasionally, and in which the names of many an, 
illustrious Whig is to be found enrolled. It was stated that 
in this Black Book the names of rejected candidates were 
introduced. But is it not scandalous that we should be 
crushed by assertions — by these barefaced falsehoods ?— 
They are as false as God is true X It is an utter, scandal- 
ous, shameless, cruel falsehood ! Here we are at the bar 
ready to prove its falsity. Who invented it ? I call on the 
man from whose lips it is Said to have issued, to do either of 
two things — to deny the truth of the report in the newspa* 
pers, or go back to the miscreant in power, and fix the 
stamp of eternal infamy on those who put forward honour- 
able men with the assertion of a falsehood. There were ex- 
cellent reasons for refusing to hear us — but, good God ? 
how can I continue after taking up so much of your time ! 
These were the grounds, my Lord, on which we were 
sought to be put down. There was nothing illegal in our 
conduct. There was strong negative testimony in our fa- 
vour ; that these were pretexts upon which they endeavour- 
ed to suppress the Association ; that even falsehood csmld 
not carry itself further ; that invention could not imagine 
any serious accusation against us; but on these petty pre- 
tences, and on this miserable sophistication, we are to be 
put down. I ask of English justice this question — Is it not 
plain, that if we had been guilty of real crime, if we had 
asserted any thing in itself wrong or illegal, these poor and 
paltry shifts would not have been resorted to? When they have 
recourse to them, they admit that the test of our conduct is 
free from blame, and that it furnishes no answerable pretence 



248 



for fair imputation. Let it be recollected, that any thing which 
has a tendency to a breach of the Peace is criminal in our 
law — you are criminal if you do any thing which an adverse 
packed jury, and a courtly judge, may think has a tendency 
to a breach of the peace. So that even dead miscreants are 
safe from the attacks of the living, upon the principle, that 
if you speak ill of the dead it is wrong, because it has a ten- 
dency to make the living relations commit a breach of the 
peace. That is law. But nothing of this sort— even nothing 
that could be construed into having a tendency to a breach 
of the peace, has been asserted to have been done by us ; 
and we are put down, because we may have a tendency to 
that result. Oh, calumniated Robespierre and your col- 
leagues ! when you guillotined men suspected of being 
suspicious, how many jests of living Ministers — aye, 
and of dead Ministers too, have broken on the repose 
of your graves ! And now these very Ministers, or 
their successors, are legislating against the universal nation, 
lest we should do something tending to have a tendency to 
a breach of the peace. There is an additional ground from 
which, I thank God, I cannot be shaken. In the entire 
series of the accusations — in the string of charges brought, 
or imagined, against us, thank God, no man had the crimi- 
nal audacity to reproach the Catholic Association with 
having uttered one word injurious to the principle of religi- 
ous liberty, or reflecting on the faith . or tenets of any other 
sect or persuasion. I rejoice in this with a great joy, that 
after two years of repeated discussions by the young and 
the old — the inexperienced and the more mature— all speak- 
ing before the public, and every word noted, nothing could 
be fixed on which would justify a reproach of this kind. 
They say that we courted popularity — the popularity which 
results from legitimate services to the people, is surely con- 
solatory to man, and is never despised by any but those 
who do not deserve it. Oh ! we were looking for popula- 
rity. What an accusation ! This charge shows that there 
did not exist in our minds one single sentiment of bigotry, 
or one that conveyed insult to our Protestant fellow- 
eountrymen. If there had, it would have floated to the 
surface and escaped. It showed much more, that the uni- 
versal people whom we addressed, were not to be flattered 
by sentiments of that description ; and that popularity was 
not to be bought from the Irish people by speaking ill of 
Protestants. There is that proud pre-eminence, if I may so 
call it — there is that uninstructed kindliness among my 
countrymen, that, after serving them disinterestedly for 



249 



twenty-one long years,, I am thoroughly convinced, that if 
I had ventured to say one single word that infringed, in the 
slightest degree, upon the principle of civil and religious 
liberty, or condemned any man either here or elsewhere for 
a sincere and conscientious conviction of the truth of any 
persuasion, I am convinced, if I had uttered an unchris- 
tian sentiment of that description, twenty-one years of 
services would not have protected me from their just indig- 
nation. This is the fact. I am certainly in the firmest 
conviction a Catholic ; but I am that, first, in principle, 
because I know how it extends its blessed charity, and I 
thank my God that, for the third time, we have testimony 
in Ireland, that, that which occurred in the reign of Mary, 
and in the reign of King James, is still the living principle 
of the Irish Catholics — an extreme anxiety for their ow r n 
freedom, for their — 

Happy homes and altars free — 

and a most perfect unaffected readiness to extend to every 
other Christian the blessings of the same humane and chari- 
table dispensation. Why do you encourage me? I cannot 
trespass on you longer by discussing this horrible Bill. 
Though I take up a large book, (taking up a volume of the 
Statutes,) I shall read but little of it. This Bill is a viola- 
tion of the Constitution — it is a continued violation of those 
rights, which my ancestors bought at the siege of Limerick. 
I am not ashamed to say, that, within its walls was a regi- 
ment raised by an ancestor of mine — he shed his blood 
fighting for his legitimate Sovereign, in the fatal field of 
Aughrim. This regiment surrendered, and his cousin* 
german, my immediate ancestor, signed the treaty, and I 
call on the British Government to realize tow r ards me that 
treaty which they had thus entered into for valuable consi- 
deration." Mr. O'Connell then referred to several Acts 
relating to meetings of the people, and said, that the policy 
of those statutes hitherto, had been to prevent confused 
tumultuary assemblies. This Bill opposed that feeling, for 
it left the people no choice but to assemble without any 
previous organization, no selection, no principle of unani- 
mity or direction. He then referred to the Convention 
Act in Ireland, which was passed against the Jacobinical 
faction, and not against the Catholics, The Catholics did 
not come within its province, and were then busily em- 
ployed in soothing the people. Who could say that the 
Catholic Association encouraged riot, tumult, and disorder. 



250 



The offence was, that they put down these things ; that 
they had made the country quiet, and this atrocious Alge- 
rince Act of Parliament had not the impudence to put on 
record that they had any such tendency. He then referred 
to the election of Catholic delegates in 1811, and the pro- 
ceedings against that body, in which he spoke of the con- 
struction that was put by the Court of King's Bench on the 
word pretence, which was employed in the Act of 1793. 
The Bench, he said, was then differently constituted from 
what it was at present ; and he would praise the existing 
Judges of that Court from the very same motives that led 
him to dispraise the power, because the one deserved dis- 
praise, and the other was a rare instance, in which all con- 
curred in the praise of that tribunal. But they came before 
the Court in that day. It was lauded then by the interested 
and hungry barristers, as the administration was now laud- 
ed by senators, not advocates, and by advocates who ought 
not to be senators. It was lauded, then, by the mean and 
mercenary, and he hoped more such would laud the present 
administration of justice. Joining in that praise himself, he 
would extend the clemency of his compassion to those who, 
from interested motives, lauded it. They appealed to com- 
mon sense, and the dictionary, to explain pretence and 
purpose, and the Court decided that pretence and purpose 
were synonymous. This was the opinion of the pious and 
godly-given Downes, since made a Peer, and retired to the 
otium cum dignitate of Judge Day — an excellent man in pri- 
vate life, but he would not wish to see him longer on the 
bench of Judge Daly, who, from an utter Barrister, voted 
himself into a Judge by voting for the Union, and devoted 
the remainder of his life to the pious occupation of distribut- 
ing Bibles. He joined in the decision, saying, that pretence 
meant purpose, if not in common sense, at least in common 
law. To these were added Osborne, who had since gone to 
account before another tribunal, and over whose grave he 
would step lightly. They had submitted to this as law ; 
and next came the present Act. The Legislators had 
grown wiser— they declared in this Bill, that no body, how- 
ever constituted, whether " for the purpose, or under the 
pretence of petitioning Parliament," &c. was legal. They 
left here no equivocation, and showed how right the Catho- 
lics were in their construction of the former Act. Let 
them, then, laud the administration of justice, and he would 
taunt them with their Algerine Act. He would show that 
they themselves found that the former decision was impro- 
per. After a variety of enactments, the Bill proceeds thus: 



251 



" And be it further enacted, that it shall and may be lawful 
to and for the Mayor, Sheriff, or Justice of the Peace, and 
they are hereby respectively authorized, empowered and 
required, within his and their respective jurisdictions, to 
command all meetings herein before declared to be unlawful 
assemblies, immediately to disperse ; and if any such meet- 
ing shall not thereupon immediately disperse, to apprehend 
all persons so offending in that behalf, and to demand 
admission into any house, out-house, or office, where they 
shall respectively have good reason to believe that such 
unlawful assembly shall be, and if refused, to enter by force." 
My Lord, what species of legislation is that in England? said 
Mr. O'Connell, dashing the Bill violently from him. — 
Let Englishmen know this, that though this is now a law 
only for the Irish, yet it is a precious precedent for the Go- 
vernment of future Legislatures. What, my Lord Duke, in 
the city of Dublin, surrounded by my family, talking of 
that which will be the natural subject of our conversation, 
the disqualification under which I labour, returning from 
Court after a fatiguing day, w T here the sanguine tempera- 
ment of my mind, perhaps, has enabled me to sueceed over 
many obstacles, and w T here, by a conscientious attention to 
the duties of my station, I may have become master of the 
facts and the law, with all the vanity and self- exultation 
which success gives, and then pitying myself when I see 
the third and fourth rate companions or followers of my 
course, placed over me, and promoted to situations which I 
cannot attain ; coming home to my family, and pouring out 
my heart before them, we shall talk, of course, of politics 
and of petitions (they are the only things we talk of,) I re- 
press the feeling that would instigate a thought of a diffe- 
rent kind, and that would make my son with a burning cheek, 
start forward and raise his arm as though he would seize a 
sword. I remind him of his duty and his God ; and whilst 
we talk thus, and whilst my paternal advice sinks on the ear 
of his affection, is the Orange beggarly Magistrate of Dub- 
lin to come and rap at my door ? Is he to invade the sacred 
privacy of my family ? Is the choice, the disinterested 
choice of my early life, and the companion of my maturer 
years, the mother of my daughters, my daughters them- 
selves, to see the ruffian Orangeman bring the badges of his 
dignity to the tea-table, around which we are seated, and 
insult us ? I ask, is it in England or in Algiers that these 
things are done ? Am I in the meridian of Constantinople, 
or in the midst of the polished Capital of Britain ? No pre- 



252 



test need be offered, there need be no informer, all thr.t fa 
required is, that the Sheriff or Mayor has good reason ta 
believe there is an unlawful assembly in a certain place. 
And what redress could I have, even though I was entitled 
in law, against the violation committed under the sanction 
of this Act ? The Jury is summoned by the Sheriff, whose 
title-deed to his office is, that he is bound himself by a so- 
lemn oath not only never to assist in, or promote the eman- 
cipation of his Catholic countrymen, but to give that Shib- 
boleth of disunion, the Orange toast— the triumph of for- 
mer days — the insult of the present. Such a Sheriff as this 
would empannel the Jury, whilst Doherty or North, I care 
not which, was praising the administration of justice. Sup- 
pose I was entitled to damages, where would I get them ? 
Oh, you have a notion here when you hear the words Lord 
Mayor, Alderman, &c. that it is with us as in your respec- 
table city of London, that the men who fill these offices are 
persons of wealth, substance, character, and humanity, 
with English feelings and commercial prosperity. You 
suppose, that because we have the forms, we have the thing. 
It was only the other day that the Corporation of Dublin 
was looking about for an Alderman, and the question was, 
whom they could get to take the office, for it was necessary 
to pay a fine of £400 to become an Alderman. They were 
obliged to take a worthy gentleman, named Hamilton, He 
accepted the office, but took it on the condition that he 
should not pay the fine. No, no. They are made up of 
discharged insolvents, beggarly bankrupts, enjoying the 
glories of eleemosynary feasting, flushed with claret, 
paid for out of the city funds; under the fumes of 
Champaigne, levied out of the tolls exacted from the 
poverty of poor Catholics, some of those may stagger 
to my house, insult my family, and outrage the feel- 
ings of my wife and daughters; and I shall stand 
quietly by, and a ruffian shall pillage my house and re- 
main in it as long as he choses, and I shall bow to the 
earth if he is only so good as not to drag forth the father — 
Englishmen ! let it be repeated where it will, I care not, 1 
do not think existence worth having on such conditions. I 
will endure it; it is an endurance — my conscience bids me 
endure it — my father has endured more. I will preach that 
Christianity which is not practised towards us ; I will tell 
my children that there is still a good God, whose provi- 
dence rules the world, and that there is a generous, noble 
people in England, who, when they come to understand the 



253 



nature and extent of the outrage that is offered to us, and 
see that that which is our case may be their's to-morrow, 
must interfere ; for who will pity Englishmen in their de- 
gradation, when they stood by to see us mocked and trod- 
den under foot ? The noble Lord has talked of standing or 
falling by England. All I desire is the opportunity of 
standing by England. But standing is out of the question — 
we are trampled on by those who have thrown us down 
Now throw your minds back to what I was talking to you 
of, I think, two hours and a-half ago. Why is this Bill 
passed on foul and false calumnies, on silly suggestions, 
tickly affections, and maudlin sentiments ? These are the 
grounds for this Algerine Act of Parliament — -these are the 
only pretences. The men were not detected in any crime — 
they were caught unanimous in endeavouring to establish 
the public peace. It is time to have done. I am not fati- 
gued — I am accustomed to this employment ; but I have 
tired you. 1 will tell you what we want to do — we seek 
not to bind to England the feathers and diamonds of the 
State, the Peers and the men of fortune, because these were 
already bound. Their fidelity was ever undoubted, their 
loyalty always displayed — education and religion, and the 
nobility of their minds, higher, 1 will say, than their sta^ 
tion, united them in dutiful allegiance to the British Scate. 
It was unnecessary for us to work on them. We saw there 
was a gathering storm in Europe — we saw the Cossack was 
mustering again — we saw that the Austrian was at his daily 
exercise — we beheld the immense power of the restored 
Bourbon, who is of the same religion with the people of 
Ireland, ready to bid against England for the affections of 
that people, and to proclaim the universal liberation of the 
Catholic population. We saw, even in the tranquillity that 
now pervades Europe, or thought we saw, the approach of a 
coming storm ; and where is the Pilot of the State that 
will venture to say that a storm is not approaching, and that 
it will not soon reach ourselves ? When is the time 
that the skilful navigator fits his vessel, arranges his crew, 
disciplines his men, and prepares them, a gallant' body, 
with life, blood, and sinew, for the coming battle ? It is 
the moment of calm and peace. We saw that this was the 
time to repair the vessel of the State ; and, therefore, we 
threw ourselves forward to bring the Irish people to peace 
and order— to offer them, at the porch of the temple, the 
Constitution ; not disfiguring it bv their multitude, but add- 
Z 



254 

ing to the strength and security of the British Empire, and 
making a holy alliance between Catholic and Protestant— 
between Englishmen and Irishmen. Is not this what every 
good Englishman should desire— what every loyal man 
should wish for. Our attempt was strangled in its progress, 
and we were met by punishment. Did they tell you that 
Catholics are unfit for freedom — that Catholics dislike their 
Protestant brethren ? My friends who preceded me have 
demonstrated that the Catholic not only can, but does hear- 
tily and affectionately grant an equilization of civil and reli- 
gious rights to Protestants. — And the only reason I refer to 
the topic again, is, that I might boast that the first State, after 
the Reformation, which granted toleration to persons of a 
different religion, was a Catholic State, the Catholics of Mary- 
land — Catholic Hungary followed the example — Bavaria did 
the same. And if it has re-echoed back to us from Protes- 
tant States upon the Continent, it only makes the kindly 
feeling increase as it mingles, and gives to the stream the 
pure and sacred character of Christian charity. The stream 
is created by the united kindliness of Catholic and Protes- 
tant. Who are the men that have framed this Bill ? It 
would, so help me God, give me consolation under its in- 
fliction, to be put down by men of talent and virtue ; but that 
s uch men as the money-making and money-loving El don, the 
domestic Liverpool, the gentle Peel, and the true Mr. Can- 
ning—that these men should put us down, and that Goul- 
burn should come to fix his seal upon me— he, whose bro- 
ther was unfit for Botany Bay, and we had no vacancy for 
him in Irelaud— that these men should come upon us and 
scandalously deal out this measure ; it presses on my heart 
with a soreness not to be forgotten. I shall return to my 
country, carrying this additional badge of slavery, and my 
only consolation will be, to tell my children and friends, that 
there is yet hope. I have pasted up the Hanoverian pro- 
clamation in my parlour. — I have shown the name of George 
the Fourth,— I point out the sentiments of the gracious 
Monarch— the living sentiments of his own noble heart. I 
say of the other things, these acts are the acts of his Minis- 
ters. It is impossible that he and the good people over 
whom he reigns, when they came to know and feel the cru- 
elty of these proceedings, will suffer them to be long per- 
severed in ; and these excessive exaggerations of base cru- 
elty and perfidy will, by raising up the public mind in Eng- 
land, open a day-dawn of liberty and peace. The English 



255 

Protestant will make that sun approach nearer to ns, 
and beneath its benign rays, Catholic and Protestant, Irish- 
man and Englishman, joined by mutual affection, will see 
their countries in united might and majesty, and strength, 
bidding defiance to the combined world. 



Z 2 



MR. SHELL'S 



SPEECH 

ON THE WEALTH OF THE 

ESTABLISHED CHURCH, 

AT THE 

ASSOCIATION. 



Mr. SHEIL said, I gave notice that I should move an 
humble address to the Archbishops, Bishops, Deans, Arch- 
deacons, and other functionaries of the Church, respectfully 
submitting to their consideration the anti-apostolic condition 
of the establishment, and praying them, with a view to 
their own salvation, to reduce their wealth within the di- 
mensions of Christianity, and to some correspondence with 
the precepts of that holy book, of which they so zealously 
propagate the diffusion. I am not prepared to move the 
address to-day, for having drawn a rough draft of it, I 
transmitted it to a friend of mine, a Curate of the Esta- 
blished Church, who has seventy-five pounds a year, and a 
family of ten children. — He ought to have slept with a copy 
of Malthus under his pillow, instead of taking a beautiful 
pauper, who is endowed with a desperate fecundity, to his 
arms. — I really thought that this amiable gentleman would 
in all likelihood, see the opulence of the sacred aristocracy 
of the Church in a strong light, and upon that account I 
sent him the address, in order that I might have the benefit 
of his poignant emendations. As I am upon my legs, it 
may not be inappropriate that 1 should mention what it was 
that induced me to engage in this adventurous, but not, I 
trust, utterly hopeless undertaking. I, not very long ago, 
received a letter from an old acquaintance of mine, one 
Anthony Pasquin, who beguiled the leisure which illness 



257 



had inflicted upon him, by reading Paley's admirable book 
on the evidence of Christianity. Although in Anthony 
Pasquin's letter, subjects of a solemn nature are rather lightly 
treated, you will find much seriousness lurking underneath 
his spirit of Sardonic mirth. He gives variety to a trite 
topic by the fantastic shape in which he presents it. 
We are told by Plutarch, that a banquet was once provided 
by a celebrated epicure, consisting of an immense variety 
of dishes, but that the whole was made up of pork, which 
had been cooked after different fashions. The Church is 
like the pork that supplied the materials of this variegated 
feast, and admits of dressing in an infinite diversity of 
ways. God forbid, however, that I should insinuate, that 
any of tho dignitaries of the establishment offered the com- 
parison to my fancy, or that I should exclaim at the sight 
of one of them, " Epicuri de grege porcus." I return to 
the letter of Mr. Anthony Pasquin, which is in the words 
following : — 

" I have been lately reading Paley's celebrated work. — 
That portion of it particularly struck me, in which he en- 
larges on his fundamental proposition, " that there is satis- 
factory evidences that many professing to be original wit- 
nesses of the Christian miracles, passed their lives in la- 
bours, dangers, and sufferings, voluntarily undergone, in 
attestation of the accounts which they delivered, and solely 
in consequence of their belief of those accounts — and that 
they also submitted, from the same motives, to new rules 
of conduct. The exact correspondence between the lives 
of the first propagators of the religion of poverty and 
of humility, with their precepts, is the main argument on 
which Paley rests his assertion, that they were firmly con- 
vinced of the truths which they were appointed to announce. 
It would, indeed, have been a reasonable interference that 
they were impostors, if, while they were inculcating the 
worthlessness of temporal wealth and power, they were re- 
velling in the enjoyments of the world, which they affected 
to despise. Paley, therefore, has laboured to establish, 
that their lives did not afford a practical refutation of their 
doctrines, and he has completely succeeded in showing that 
their conduct coincided with the injunctions, which are 
conveyed in their celestial ethics. He well observes, " I do 
not know that it has ever been insinuated, that the Christian 
mission in the hands of the Apostles, was a scheme for mak- 
ing a fortune or getting money." The Christians, we are 
told by St. Paul, " knew in themselves, that they had in 
heaven a better and an enduring substance/' It is not only 
Z 3 



S'58 



in the writings of the inspired emissaries of Christianity 
that proofs of their scorn for gold are to be found. So late 
as the time of Lucian, (we are told by him) <c the Christ- 
ians had a sovereign contempt for all the things of the 
■world/' After the perusal of Paley, I took up Southey's 
<{ Book of the Church/' the reading of which, together with 
his letter to Charles Butler, operated as an opiate, and put 
me into a profound sleep. Queen Mab was at my bed side, 
and wherefore should, " the midwife to the fancy " not 
visit me in my dreams, when she approaches more vener- 
able personages — when e< with a tithe-pig's tail," she 
comes — i 

" Tickling a Parson's nose, as he lies asleep— 
i( Then dreams he of another benefice/' 

Whether she ever played these pranks with the Apostles ; 
whether she tickled the noses of St. Peter or St. Paul, with 
a -tithe-pig's tail, I leave it to my Lords, the Bishops, to 
conjecture. The perusal of Paley, not unnaturally, led me 
back to the period on which he had expatiated. I say, that 
this was not unnatural, but refer it to Mr. Carmiehael, the 
partner of Mr. Wra. Kemmis, of the Crown Office, and the 
author of a very ingenious essay upon the cause of dreams , 
which is published in the transactions of the Royal Irish 
Academy. That able metaphysician will, I hope, avail 
himself of the many opportunities which he has had of ap- 
proaching the A ttornies- General for the last twenty years, 
and will, m a note to the next edition of his work, apprize 
us, whether Mr. Saurin ever dreamed of being put out of 
office ? Whether Lord Plunkett ever dreamed of being 
successor to Lord Norbury ? or whether Mr. Joy,... ...but 

with that gentleman's dreams I dare not meddle, but piously 
hope, that I am not among their objects ? But let that pass 
— and to speak with the gravity which becomes the matte?, 
<c in the visions of the night, when the sleep falleth upon 
men," as Serjeant Lefroy would express it. I thought that 
1 was living at the period of which I had been reading, 
when, some years after the death of Tiberius, Christianity 
was in the midst of persecution making a rapid way. I 
saw (here Mr. Anthony Pasquin becomes serious — for he 
can be so when it is meet) — I saw the inspired and lofty- 
minded men, to whom the great office of illuminating man- 
kind had been committed, go forth from Palestine, and pro- 
claim in the metropolis of the world, as the heralds of 
Heaven, thg eternal truths, of which they were the reposi- 



259 



tories. I saw them in the calm and unostentatious courage, 
derived from the assurance of immortality, look upon death 
and the torments which preceded it, without dismay. But 
what struck me far more than the meek heroism of endur- 
ance, was their exemplification of the divine philosophy, 
of which they were the professors, in the simplicity of 
their deportment, in the humility of their mild demeanour, 
in their spirit of benevolence and of mercy, in their absti- 
nence and self-denial, in their utter contempt of riches, and 
in the fixedness of their regards upon those objects of ever- 
lasting interest, to which their eyes and hearts were unre- 
mittingly exalted. They did not reside in gorgeous palaces, 
while they instructed their followers in the wisdom of po- 
verty and the usefulness of sorrow. Their lessons of humi- 
lity were not announced from the porticos of Princes — it 
was not from the banquet-hall that they issued their ordi- 
nances of abstinence ; nor did they, from the primrose path 
of luxury, point to the steep and thorny road to heaven. — 
I saw no train of pampered minions in their retinue — I be- 
held no mitres upon the chariots in which they had journey- 
ed from Jerusalem to Rome. I saw no " Bench of Bi- 
shops " in the Senate, I did not see their wives and daugh- 
ers tripping it through the mazes of a Roman quadrille, or 
whirling in the arms of some brawny ensign of the Praeto- 
rian guard, through the evolutions of an Ionic waltz, and 
verifying Horace's description of the amusement of an Italian 
virgin — 

" Motus doceri gaudet Ionicos 

" Matura virgo, et fingitur artubus." 

I did not see the Apostles and their followers turning Chris- 
tianity into a domestic convenience, making the Church of 
God a receptacle of conjugal endearment — making priests 
of their sons, and the wives of priests of the young ladies. 
Neither did I hear any thing of running a Bishop's life 
against a lease, or of a Bishop executing a renewal and 
touching ten thousand pounds on his death bed, when he 
ivas about to render an account of his ministry, and to stand 
in the dreadful sight of the living God- I heard nothing of 
tithes, and vestries, and cesses. I saw no Ecclesiastical 
Courts, no Metropolitans, no Surrogates, no Ministers, no 
Civil Bills, no Proctors, no Distrainings, no Executions, no 
sales of Blankets, no auctions of Beds of Straw, " in the 
name of him who died no trial before one priest of the 
corporate interests of another. I did not see the people in- 







260 

dignant at any system of rapacity carried on under the aus- 
pices of the Divine Author of religion, and the road t© 
Heaven converted into a sort of Bagshot-heath, where the 
Ministers of Christ claim a kind of prescriptive right to sa- 
cerdotal spoliation. There was, indeed, one individual who 
suggested a singular project. His name was Simon Magus. 
This fellow proposed to establish a Mining Company, de- 
claring that he had discovered a rich vein of gold under the 
barren rocks of Mount Calvary. But the proposition was 
indignantly rejected. You are aware that dreams are pro- 
verbially capricious — 

" The children of an idle brain 

" Begot of nothing but vain fantasy." 

It was under this strange influence that I was suddenly trans- 
ferred to a very different period. Queen Mab shifted the 
scene of the puppet show, which is played in a dreamer's 
head. I thought that all at once I posted from Rome to 
London — and leaped over whole tracts of centuries in a sin- 
gle bound. It was, perhaps, owing to my reading of 
Southey's " Book of the Church," together with Paley's 
Evidences, that this immense transition was instantaneously 
effected, and I stood at the outside of Saint Stephen's 
Chapel. Here a new spectacle presented itself. — There 
came rattling down Palace-yard a series of splendid 
carriages, with mitres upon their pannels — and which were 
drawn by horses superbly caparisoned, and conducted by 
portly charioteers, placed upon lofty seats, with laced cock- 
ed hats upon their heads, overtopping tremendous periwigs, 
while a profusion of golden epaulets depended from the 
shoulders of these pampered slaves. When I saw them at a 
distance, I took these vehicles for the carriages of the great, 
the noble, and the princely of the land. Judge, then, of 
my astonishment when, as they approached, and drew up 
with an awful clatter at the portico of the House of Lords, 
I beheld the twelve Apostles dressed in lawn sleeves, toge- 
ther with the early Fathers of the Church, with St, Paul at 
their head. f< In sooth, gentlemen/' I exclaimed, " you are 
amazingly changed since I saw you Jast," I was particularly 
struck with St, Paul — at first he looked like the picture of 
the Apostle, in Raphael's immortal cartoon, where he is re- 
presented as announcing to the Athenians " the unknown 
God." But gradually, as Lord Byron says, in his descrip- 
tion of a common incident in dreaming :— 



261 

" I thought his tace 
" Faded, or altered into something new." 

And while he inquired whether he had arrived in time to 
vote against his old friend, Lord Plunkett, and the Catholic 
question, as he tripped with a rapid and elastic step, and an 
airy and flippant deportment, in place of St. Paul, I beheld 
one of his successors in the venerable person of Doctor 
Magee." It is unnecessary that I should read any more 
of my friend, Anthony PasquhYs correspondence. It is 
enough to say, that its contents put me upon a train of think- 
ing, by which I was induced to propose an address to the 
Archbishops, Bishops, Deans, Archdeacons, ( et hoc genus 
omne ) imploring of them to furnish the same evidences of 
the truth of the Christian religion, which, according to 
Paley, were supplied by their predecessors, and, to use the 
words of St. Clement, as quoted by that eminent divine, 
" to put before their eyes the holy Apostles** I shall select 
an early opportunity of laying the address before you, and 
and as henceforward I intend to dedicate a good deal of my 
attention to the spiritual improvement of the establishment, 
I shall probably publish the speeches which I shall deliver 
on the subject, in a volume, which, in humble imitation of 
Mr. Southey, I shall entitle " The Book of the Irish 
Church." 



MR. O'CONNELL'S 

SPEECH 

AT 

A PUBLIC DINNER 

GIVEN TO HIM IN 

WATERFORD. 



Mr. CHAIRMAN and Gentlemen — No person can do me 
the injustice to suppose, that I can think it possible for me 
to express the extent of my gratitude. In truth, I am proud 
of, as well as delighted with, this manifestation of kindness. 
With all the fervour of my heart, I thank you for the man- 
ner in which you have received my humble name ; and if it 
were possible to enhance my gratification, it would be done 
by the sentiment which you have associated with that name 
I am, it is true, an advocate of Civil and Religious Liberty ; 
but I deeply regret to say, that my advocacy has been use- 
less and unavailing. I have brought to that sacred cause 
little talent, yet certainly great zeal, purity of intention, 
and persevering honesty, but alas ! hitherto with little suc- 
cess. Civil Liberty is nothing but justice brought into ac- 
tion, and securities stipulated for against oppression and ini- 
quity. Civil Liberty places man in that state, with regard 
to his fellow-beings, that the order of nature and the man- 
date of the Creator have suggested and arranged, leaving 
so much of natural liberty and equality as are necessary for 
the protection of life and the unqualified enjoyment of pro- 
perty — whilst that Liberty deprives every body of the power 
to oppress or injure another, and affords the salutary re- 
straint which always prevents the infliction of unmerited in- 
jury, or the unwarranted deprivation of another's property, 
It is true that in despotic States there may in private life 



263 



chance to be a dispensation of justice between man and man ; 
but, justice in such States wants a sanction and a safeguard, 
and is duly administered only so long as it suits the caprice 
or avoids interfering with the passions, partialities, or inte- 
rests of persons in power, or of their parasites or re- 
tainers. I am the friend of Civil Liberty, because with- 
out it there cannot possibly continue to exist practical 
honesty. I am the advocate of Religious Liberty, not 
from any affectation of that impious libertinism which 
considers the choice of creed a matter of indifference, or 
which confounds various modes of belief without selec- 
tion or preference. I am, Gentlemen, deeply penetrated 
with the awful responsibility which attaches to the belief 
and profession of a true religion. To the selection of that 
one every man should bring perfect candour and sincerity, 
and a lively caution proportioned to the magnitude of the 
object ; and he who is cautious and sincere is answerable 
for the result to no human tribunal. It is purely a question 
between him and God — and nothing but impiety, or tyranny, 
or a combination of both, would interfere with the sacred 
rights of conscience, or employ force or fraud to compel or 
procure the public profession of any tenets, but such as are 
believed in the secret sincerity of the heart, Without reli- 
gious liberty, religion dwindles into bigotry, and is made the 
ready instrument of peculation and interested oppression. 
Religion loses its own sweet and genuine charity, and is 
rendered not the pretext, but the corroding cause of ill will, 
dissension, and mutual hate. I am fervently attached to 
religious liberty, because I admire and love religion, and am 
convinced that its best and dearest interests can be promoted 
only by leaving conscience free — by cultivating its charities 
— by flinging away the weapons of fraud and force, of 
exclusion and bribery — leaving to the calm kindness of 
Christian persuasion, the removal of every error, and the 
remedy for every mistake, and exhibiting the sincerity of 
our preference by the constant practice of fraternal charity. 
With these sentiments of civil and religious liberty, I have 
brought to their cause zeal and sincerity, and I can promise 
you perseverance. My efforts have been, it is true> unsuc- 
cessful, but their course was ever strictly legal and Consti- 
tutional. It was, and ever will be, marked by enthusiastic 
reverence for the general principle of the Constitution. 
Attached to the principles of hereditary Monarchy, because 
in the certainty and stability of the Throne is founded much 
of the security of the lives and property of the people at 
large ; admitting the ancient and venerable institution of 



264 



hereditary Nobility, which, if purified from the dross and 
mischievous mixture of modern corruption, is capable of 
being converted, in the social edifice of the State, into a 
noble column, giving strength and imparting ornament to 
the entire fabric ; but above all, and I own it, more than all, 
is my soul devoted to the pure principle of Popular Repre- 
sentation — to the chartered and inalienable Right of the 
People, to be enabled by their Representatives to confine 
the Throne and the Peerage within the limits of public 
utility, and to procure for themselves protection against 
every peculation and every oppression. This most useful 
principle of Popular Representation should be universal, in 
order to be universally useful. Its selections should be 
made freely and frequently. No man should have a long 
lease of the people's rights, lest he should use it as his own 
property, or for his own purposes, leaving to the people 
nothing but " a dry reversion." The mode of voting by 
ballot would take away the possibility of undue influence or 
intimidation, and leave the humble honest man as free and 
independent as the proudest and haughtiest being in the 
community. Such is my profession of political faith, and 
such are the maxims which have governed my political 
career. In point of practical detail, I have ever recommended 
the bold and open course of confronting oppression in its 
high places — of exposing injustice, not in mincing or lady- 
like phrases, but in the plain language of reason and truth — 
so that, if we could not always stem the career of the Orange 
bigot, we had the satisfaction, at least, of exposing him to 
the execration and contempt of the wise and good in every 
country. Towards the liberal Protestant, and there are many 
such men, we have ever expressed our affection and grati- 
tude, and have always hailed as our brother, every enemy 
of bigotry and injustice, no matter what may be his creed 
or colour. With respect to the Catholics themselves, per- 
haps we have been too ready to indulge in miserable feuds 
and petty jealousies ; but experience has made us wise, and 
those follies and mistakes will, I trust, be banished from our 
Councils for ever. Indeed, I think brighter prospects 
begin to dawn upon us, and that for which we have long 
struggled appears to come at length within our grasp. The 
symptom of the times, which most cheers my expectations, 
is to be found amongst the Catholics themselves. The 
struggle has now lasted twenty-one years. We have 
laboured through good repute and bad repute ; we have 
persevered after repeated disappointments — persevered, also, 
amidst the treachery of hollow friends, and the often- 



265 



increasing hostility of bigotted enemies ; and, even when 
hope was shut out at every side, we have never dared to 
despair. The reward of constancy is, I trust, at hand. — 
The Catholic people, in their various ranks and gradations, 
are at length arousing from torpor and apathy ; it is no 
longer a transitory ebullition of feeling with them ; they 
are perceived to awaken around us in every quarter, and 
the combined voices of united millions will soon bear, in 
thundering tones, to the foot of the Throne, and into the 
recesses of Ministerial duplicity, the firm and irresistible 
demands of the Irish people for the restitution of their 
unjustly- withheld rights and privileges. Yes, in the combi- 
nation of the honest, the educated, the sober, and the 
rational, I see the greatest possible advantages, particularly 
as it serves to bring us into contact with the people through- 
out the land, and enables us to protect them from those 
private associations and secret confederacies which have been, 
hitherto, the bane and destruction of the hopes of Ireland, 
It is not wonderful that a people loaded with many miseries, 
and seeing no prospect of Constitutional relief, should com- 
bine to revenge what they could not redress, and to retali- 
ate evil by criminal mischief. The Irish people have, there- 
fore, been the easy dupes of every miscreant who was either 
hired to lead them astray, or volunteered, from his own 
natural malignity, to plunge them into crime and blood ; 
but the collectors of the Catholic Rent will be able to advise 
and caution them — they will be able to point out the mis- 
chief of Secret Associations, and to show the people that it 
is impossible any good can result from midnight meetings or 
private combinations. They will tell them, that such con- 
spiracies strengthen the hands of their oppressors, and are 
the sure means of giving pay and power to the worst ene- 
mies of their country and religion. Yes, this awakening 
spirit of legalised exertion will, I trust, banish from the 
abodes of our peasantry, the fiend of secret plotting, and 
free the land from the curse that is entailed upon it, from 
the criminal excesses of a wretched and misled population, 
and, at the same time, direct the hopes and exertions of that 
population, to seek relief from their miseries in the mode, 
and from the sources by which it alone can and ought to be 
procured. But whilst we caution them against secret and 
illegal conspiracy, let us never relax in our efforts to procure 
an open, public, and universal association ; let the effort to 
obtain relief be as extensive as the evil of which we complain; 
let every individual, without exception, make it his first and 
constant duty to reprobate the oppressed, and shake off the 
2 A 



266 



oppression, until bigotry and injustice shall wither from the 
land, before the frown of combined and consecrated Ireland ; 
let every man, however humble or exalted, make the wrongs 
of Ireland the perpetual theme of his complaint ; let him 
hold no communion that he can possibly avoid with the 
promoters, the favourers, and the patrons of the present 
unjust system of degradation ; let a species of civil excom- 
munication cut them off from all intercourse but that of 
inevitable necessity, and then we shall cease to be consenting 
parties to our own disgrace, or servile instruments of our 
own oppression. Our enemies have unjustly cut us off from 
the enjoyment of equal rights, and whilst they continue that 
injustice, let us make them experience the bitterness of our 
firm but tranquil resentment ; let there be no compromise 
with those who rob us of Constitutional liberty, but let them 
feel that it is ordained, that men cannot be unjust with 
impunity. We wall violate no law, commit no crime, but 
we will proclaim, as aliens and enemies, those who insist on 
continuing our exclusion, and those who convert all that is 
useful and honorable in the State, to the base purposes of a 
base Orange faction, whilst they stigmatise and oppress the 
universal Irish people. With these sentiments of attache 
ment to Civil and Religious Liberty, reverence to the 
Throne, respect to the Peerage, and ardent devotion to popu- 
lar Representation, and the sacred Rights of the People, 
recommending you earnestly to conciliate all that is worth 
conciliating amongst our Protestant fellow-countrymen, and 
to retaliate upon your oppressors by an open and persever- 
ing, as well as manly and legal combination amongst your- 
selves ; with this my earnest and honest advice, I throw 
myself upon the kindness of your indulgence, to believe that 
I have not expressed my gratitude for the distinguished 
honour you have done me, only because it was impossible to 
find language to convey the heartfelt sense 1 entertain of 
this marked, but undeserved, respect. Let me again conjure 
you to be united amongst yourselves. The English Catho- 
lic Association are now in communication with the Irish 
Association, and much good may be expected from this 
junction. It is principally composed of the descendants of 
those men who obtained and transmitted to us the Magna 
Charta ; and it is to be hoped, that the principle of our 
Constitution Association will soon become as powerful as it 
shall become universal. 



MR. SHEIL'S 



SPEECH 

ON 

SECONDING MR. CTCONNELL'S MOTION 



TO CALL AN 

AGGREGATE MEETING. 



Mr. SHEIL, in seconding Mr. O'Connell's motion for an 
Aggregate Meeting, said, that he fully concurred with him 
in the expression of his detestation for the faction which 
had rendered the people of Ireland the most unfortunate of 
mankind. The great Lord Bacon has recorded what he 
might call a lugubrious joke upon Ireland, which, with 
much disastrous drollery, is not without some melancholy 
truth. In his Considerations upon a war with Spain/' he 
tells us, that D'Aquila scrupled not to say in open treaty, 
u That when the devil from the mount showed unto Christ 
the kingdoms of the earth, and the glory thereof, he doubted 
not but that the devil left out Ireland, and kept it for him- 
self." This fantastic sarcasm of the Spaniard might at first 
excite mirth, but it also suggested reflections which were 
full of pain, reproach, and sorrow. Ireland had for centuries 
been surrendered to an infernal faction, which, with a kind 
of diabolical policy, had frustrated the designs of God. The 
beneficent intentions of Providence were manifest. The 
climate, the soil, and situation of Ireland — her openness to 
the world — her adaptation to commerce — the character of 
her ardent and intelligent — her enterprising and persevering 
people — every circumstance about her, give indications of 
her capacity for greatness ; yet, all these fine pre-dispositions 
2 A 2 



268 



to prosperity — this noble preparation for grandeur — this 
partiality of nature— this bias of Providence in her favour, 
have been defeated, and a guilty faction triumphs in 
their inglorious counteraction of the purposes of God. 
Well might the Spaniard exclaim, that "the Devil had 
kept Ireland for himself/' and rightly may we add, that he 
has continued to enjoy the benefit of his original reservation. 
Ireland still exemplifies the results of the Satanic system of 
legislation, whose end appears to have been the debasement 
and demoralization of man. A diabolical depravity per- 
vaded the Penal Code, and if he might say, rendered Ire- 
land a fief of hell. To rescue it from a condition so deplo- 
rable — to redeem their Country from this political damna- 
tion, was the great end which had associated them together 
Distant as that object might still seem to be, they had made 
towards it some important advances, They were now about 
to adjourn. Mr. O'Connell had suggested various measures 
for their future adoption. He would revert to their past 
labours, for he found in the retrospect much matter for gra~ 
tulation. When the Association was first formed, it was 
difficult to bring even a few individuals together ; their 
assemblies were now crowded, and animated with a general 
enthusiasm » The people knew that they had no other ob- 
ject but the public good, and their efforts had been seconded 
by the national co-operation. One great pulsation — one 
deep and ardent sentiment, throbbed through the public 
mind. It beat from the heart through every artery never 
had so strong and unanimous a feeling pravailed through the 
Country, This strong sensation was to be attributed to the 
zeal and energy of that body. It had fixed the attention of 
the Legislature upon Irish affairs. Ireland had stood like a 
gigantic supplicant at the gates of the Constitution, and al- 
though they had not been thrown open they had thundered 
with their knocking. England had at least been compelled 
to hear her, and to look with dismay, if not with pity, up- 
on the hedious misery which she had herself produced. 
Mr. Peel had lately said, that he began to nauseate at Irish 
questions. He sat, like Dives, at the full banquet of the 
State, and pampered with it's honors: — he would fain exclude 
our mendicant wretchedness from his sight. He would find^ 
however, that he had to deal with a sturdy Lazarus. This 
lofty manufae ' ] ^islation — this supercilious artificer of 
the Laws, expressed his disgust, forsooth, at the perpetual 
intrusion of Irish calamity ; he turned away with a fastidi- 
ous disrelish from the vehement expostulations of the Coun- 
try. But this miserable and unworthy sentiment met with 



269 



no sympathy in the House ; and if Ireland has not created 
compasion, she has at least excited curiosity. ISight after 
night the abuses of the Irish system had been pressed upon 
the Legislature. By whom ? By the Roman Catholic Asso- 
ciation. Whatever opinion migh be entertained on the pro- 
priety of specific measures, it could not be doubted but that 
discussion had, at least, been produced. The enormous and 
pagan opulence of the Church — the corruption of the Ma- 
gistracy — the pollution of justice — the mismanagement of 
national education — the unjust distribution of the patronage 
of the Crown, and all the long train of evils which afflict 
the Country had been brought before Parliament, Has this 
done no good ? Is not every Englishman convinced that the 
Irish Church, in its present state, is nothing but a gorgeous 
nuisance — a huge incubus upon the Country ? Is he not 
convinced that the spiritual food of one-eighth of the People 
costs too much ? Is there not a general call for economy in 
Religion, and for prayer at a cheaper rate ? Do they not 
say that the price of Protestant salvation is too high ? Is it 
not clear that this proud and bloated Establishment must be 
speedily reduced to a more meagre and Apostolic shape? 
Has not the discussion upon the Administration of Justice 
convinced every man in England that in the North, where 
political and religious passions intervened, the Catholic has 
scarcely a chance of redress ? The recent inquiry would 
never have taken place, had not the attention of the Legis- 
lature been forced to the subject. The present Government 
of Ireland have acted, in that inquiry, in a manner highly 
honorable to themselves, but their sense of the necessity of 
investigation arose from the loud remonstrances of the Catho- 
lic Body, conveyed through the Catholic Association. That 
inquiry has been attended with the most useful results. 
It has exhibited a whole system ; it has dragged the Hydra 
from its den : it affords a dreadful and appaling elucidation 
of the calamities of Ireland. Who will venture, after this 
frightful disclosure of delinquency, to say that Faction does 
not pollute the sources of Justice ? Has the Association 
done nothing for the cause of Education ? In the first place, 
it has exposed the fanatical system, by which a monopoly of 
intellect was established, analogous to the monopoly of ho- 
nor. The narrow policy and the inefficiency of the Kildare- 
.^treet Society have been proved. The Biblio-mania has been 
held up to derision ; and it has been demonstrated, that the 
Roman Catholie Clergy, so far from being the enemies of 
education, are its most strenuous advocates. Every Parson 
swears to support a School, upon his induction to a Parish ; 
2 A 3 



27© 

but, in the spirit of clerical generosity, he speedily transfers 
lo the Priest the precious occasion of doing good; he denies 
himself the luxuries of benevolence., and makes an assign- 
ment of his oath to the poor and humble teachers of the 
errors of the Church of Rome. If there were no other ad- 
vantage derived from the discussion upon Scriptural educa- 
tion, the vindication of the Catholic Clergy would be of 
great moment. But more has been done. A Commission 
has been appointed upon the subject, which is likely to 
do much good. The queries which they have put are dic- 
tated by candour and good faith. But the benefits of the 
Association did not stop here ; a general inquiry into the 
affairs of Ireland had been instituted. That inquiry must 
lead to practical results* The Committees were not sent on 
an idle voyage of political discovery. They were not dis- 
patched without a purpose into the terra incognita of Irish 
affairs* Some legislative enactment must follow this great 
investigation. How had that enquiry been obtained ? It 
was wrung from the Minister, by the sense of our calami- 
ties, in the House of Commons, and that sense had been pro- 
duced by the reiteration of complaint, which proceeded 
from the Catholic Association. Taking all these matters 
into account it was impossible not to feel that the Association 
had done much good. He thought that in many particulars 
their condition had been meliorated, and that the strongest 
inducements were held out by their experience of the past 
to persevere. Despair was a sin in politics as well as in reli- 
gion. For his own part he was disposed to cherish a trust 
in the better fortunes of his Country, and however short of 
their expectations the measures of the present Government 
had been, yet it must be confessed that some improvement 
had taken place. It was true that great mistakes had been 
committed, and Lord Wellesley had manifested a strange 
ignorance of the People whom he came to govern. He had for 
the purposes of conciliation descended to acts of complaisance^ 
which were all well meant, no doubt, but were singularly 
ill-advised. He should have remembered that faction is a 
deaf adder, which it is beyond his power to charm. The 
Legislative enactments under his administration, had not a 
really conciliatory tendency. The Insurrection Act was lit 
tie calculated to allure us into peace. There is nothing very 
caressing in the Constabulary Bill. Fouche could not have 
desired a better system of Gendarmerie. Still one is recon- 
ciled to it by the reflection that it has superseded in some 
degree that corrupt and flagitious Magistracy, which op- 
pressed the people by their tyranny, and demoralised them 



271 



by their example. Neither is the Tithe Bill fraught with 
blessings. It is, however, a precedent for innovation, and 
sooner or later the whole aristocracy will revolt against it. 
Its principles will bring the Parson and the Squire into con- 
flict, The Clergy have received an accession of wealth 

but the cup was full before, and, in overflowing, it is not real- 
ly the additional drop that will be carried away. These mea- 
sures neither were, nor professed to be, of a conciliatory 
nature. An Act, however, had been introduced, which 
was intended as a grace. There is an offensive mode of 
conferring favours, and of this kind was the Burial Act. 
He was quite convinced that Mr. Plunkett, in introducing 
it, was influenced by a real anxiety to confer a national obli- 
gation, and to soothe the People of Ireland. But he forgot 
that he had to address himself to the feelings as well as to 
the reason of the Country. It was, in truth, a question of 
pure sentiment, with which dialectics had little to do. 
It was not a matter of logic, but of sensibility. Mr. Plun- 
kett therefore ought to have consulted the Roman Catholic- 
Priesthood in legislating for their emotions, and, not con- 
tent with his own good intentions, should have sounded 
the hearts of the People. Had he done so, his Burial Bill 
would have been free from many obnoxious forms, which, 
if he might use the comparison, were like the thistle upon 
the grave of the Monk in Sterne, and "had no business to 
grow there/' After all, however, we should not be too rigo- 
rous in our exactions from our friends. The situation of 
Mr. Plunkett was embarrassing ; he had to bow to the Par- 
son while he was lifting up the Priest ; and if we exclaim 
with Hamlet in the Churchyard, 

if Who is this they follow, 
And with such maimed rites 9" 

He may reply, 

" The obsequies have been so far enlarged 
As we had warranty 

The Attorney-General, he argued, had granted in the Bill 
none but Cf maimed rites," no " warranty/' but as far as Mr. 
Peel — as far as my Lord Eldon gave him leave; however, 
if he pronounced a censure on the Ministry, he was ready 
to give them all the credit he considered they were entitled 
to individually. He had trespassed, perhaps, too long on 
their attention. But, in reviewing the public events which 



272 



had taken place during the sittings of the Association, 
he hoped he was not deviating into any inapplicable mat. 
ter. Before he closed, however, he thought it due to jus- 
tice to say, that whatever objections might lie to many 
of the measures of Marquis Wellesley's adminitration, yet 
that a useful and material change had taken place ; of late 
a sentiment of warmer amity had arisen between Lord 
Wellesley and the people. They made allowances for him 
and for Mr. Plunkett. They recollect that when the 
Vice-regal sceptre was put into his hand, his arm was bound 
under the purple robe. They remember that the very 
detestation of the Orangemen gave him a title to our sup- 
port. They remember that both he and Mr. Plunkett 
were restrained by their confederates, and that their will 
was often separated from their acts. They feel that a 
change of men is, to a certain extent, a change of mea- 
sures, a new colour, a different hue is given to that great 
cam el eon, " the Irish Court ;' if not absolutely green, it 
is less glaringly Orange. Liberality, if not encouraged, 
is at least endured. Better principles creep gradually into 
fashion, and insolence to the people is less " the mode" at 
the Castle. In two very important instances, the practi- 
cal barrier of religion has been broken through. A Roman 
Catholic has been appointed to the influential office of Re- 
membrancer of the Exchequer. The nomination of Mr. 
Blake to functions which are, in a great measure judicial, 
is a most salutary innovation. It opens the way for a 
further inroad upon monopoly. It gives us the power to 
ask whether a Roman Catholic in office displays any infe- 
rior qualifications to the more legitimate proprietors of the 
public honors? The appointment of Mr, Farrell is also a 
matter of general gratification. But, above all, the recent 
inquiry, instituted by Government, has produced through- 
out the Country a very kindly sentiment. It gives earnest 
of a genuine desire to do whatever it is in their power to 
effect, with all the drags and checks that have been attached 
to their authority — once convinced that it is the honest 
wish of the liberal part of the Administration to promote 
the interests of the Country, we should take the gene- 
rosity of the will as some substitute for the imperfection 
of the performance ; at the the same time we should not 
sacrifice our real interests for the temporary accommoda- 
tion of any set of men, or render our proceedings sub- 
servient to their convenience — above all, we should not 
ask for fredom in the language of slaves. We should 
stand erect before the Legislature, and not kneel down 



273 



for liberty as a kind of political alms — a sort of eleemo- 
synary gratuity to six millions of men. In one word, we 
should demand not the donation of a privilege, but the 
restitution of a right, and appeal as strongly to the justice 
as to the compassion of the English people* 



MR. SHEIL'S 



SPEECH, 

DELIVERED AT CORK, AT A 

MEETING OF THE 

HIBERNIAN 
BIBLE SOCIETY. 



Mr, SHEIL asked whether he, a stranger, might be 
permitted to make some observations on what he had 
heard. 

The CHAIRMAN said— This, Sir, is a Meeting of the 
Members and Friends of the Society — if you are a Friend to 
the Society you are entitled to speak. 

Mr. SHEIL said — Then, Sir, in one sense, I am a Friend 
to the Society, and I shall evince it by an act of substantial 
friendship, in venturing to give you some honest, though it 
may possibly be mistaken advice — Mr. Sheil said, that when 
the former meeting was held, to which a gentleman had ad- 
verted, he was not in Cork, and upon that account he ought 
not to be considered as an overweening intruder upon their 
deliberations. They should not shrink from discussion if it 
was carried on in a fair and mitigated spirit. The meeting 
was called a private one — but it exhibited singular evidences 
of privacy in the numbers by which it was attended — It 
concerned the public ; a great national question was involved 
in the proceedings, and it was one by which the interests of 
the whole community were affected. He should studiously 
avoid giving offence to the religious sentiments of the ardent 
and lovely Theologians whom he saw assembled aroundhim. 
We should survey the subject, than which none was more 
awfully important, with minds pure, unprejudiced, unim- 
passioned, standing as it were upon an eminence; in the 



275 



nclouded atmosphere of heaven, while the mists and 
torms of the world were passing unheeded beneath us. He 
egretted that some observations had fallen from those who 
receded him, which reflected upon the creed of the Irish 
eople. At no time were controversial disputations well 
alculated to promote the real interests of Christianity, and 
ley were peculiarly ill-adapted to the fair auditory whom 
e had risen to address. The religion of a woman ought 
) be an impassioned meekness, and that sweet spirit which 
ras typified by the dove, should spread its wings upon them. 
Virile he entreated their forbearance, and that pity for 
uman error that was akin to the love of Heaven, he should 
ike care not to abuse their indulgence. He had heard Mr. 
Joel with pleasure. He had given proof of high intellect 
nal acquirements, and there was in his zeal an internal 
vidence of sincerity. In one sense only was he an impostor, 
y practising a delusion upon himself. The Honorable 
xentleman, and his Caledonian associate, who had mani- 
ested so much anxiety for the spiritual welfare of the Irish 
►eople, and who was not only a Scotsman but a Captain, 
ieserved much praise for the motives which had induced 
heir religious excursion. The nautical Divine had com- 
plied the enthusiasm of his profession with the characteris- 
ic sagacity of his country. Mr. Noel had pathetically 
amented the moral degradation and utter wretchedness of 
he Irish people, and attributed both to the absence of Scrip- 
ural education. Without comparing him to an empiric, who 
roulcl fain apply his own favourite remedy to every disease, 
le should remind him that the misery of Ireland arose from 
i vast variety of causes. The Honorable Gentleman had 
ust come from a country whose prosperity was the accumu- 
ation of a thousand years. On the other hand, the wretch- 
idness of Ireland was the produce of as many centuries of 
alamity. He who was familiar with the luxuries of the Eng- 
ish cottage, naturally shrunk from the miseries of the Irish 
lovel. He (Mr. Sheil) would ask whether the vast diffusion of 
vealth, the extent of commerce, the number of manufac- 
ures and the equality of the people, had produced the 
iches and the happiness of England ; or whether her un- 
>aralleled greatness was all owing to the reading of the 
Scriptures without note or comment? Had centuries of 
niquitous misrule accomplished nothing in the work of 
nisery, of degradation, and of guilt ? If the Honorable 
Gentleman were better acquainted with Ireland, he would 
soon perceive that it is upon the higher classes that his reli- 
gious labours ought to be bestowed. This amiable itinerant 



276 



would, in the course of his sacred peregrinations, soon 
discover that it was not in the smoke of the hovel, but in the 
blaze of the banquet, that the precepts of the Gospel ought 
to be enforced. He would endeavour to impart the practi- 
cal spirit of Christianity to the barbarous aristocracy of 
Ireland — to civilize them into pity — to convince them that 
their wretched serfs are made of the same flesh and blood 
as themselves, and belong to the great brotherhood of men. 
With indignation would he behold the system of merciless 
exaction adopted by the Irish landlord, which is so widely 
at variance, not only with the principles upon which the 
English proprietor deals with his tenant, and with the habits 
of his own great country, but utterly repugnant to the 
commisserating spirit of those holy writings, the perusal of 
which he strenuously inculcated. How would his honest 
nature be excited, when he saw the miserable peasant cast, 
in a winter's night, with his famished and naked children, 
upon the world ? How would his humanity shudder at the 
scenes of desolation which are daily enacted amongst us ? 
He would then perceive that his pious adjurations ought to 
be directed to those very men by whom he has been infected 
with his opinions of our country, and that he should begin 
by teaching humanity to the rich before he taught polemics 
to the poor. In the delusion of a benevolent fanaticism, he 
forgets that the people are less in want of bibles than of 
bread. God forbid that he (Mr. Sheil) should suggest that 
the lower orders ought not to receive a religious edu- 
cation. He was of opinion that they should be instructed 
in the established tenets of their forefathers ; that they 
should be taught, by means adapted to their capacities, 
the fixed principles of their ancient enerable faith. 

Religion is peculiarly necessary to o cse who, while 
the opulent find in the pleasures of actual existence, many 
intense but transitory enjoyments, must look up to Heaven 
for their only consolation. When the poor peasant rises 
from his bed of misery, he sees in the glories of the morning 
sun that cheers him to his toil by day, and in the infinity of 
Heaven's host that guides him to his home by night, the 
magnificent attributes of that Being whom the simple and 
consoling faith of his fathers teaches him to adore. The 
Roman Catholic faith contains a body of moral precepts as 
well calculated to insure salutary results upon society, as 
any modern theory in religion ; and, although Mr, Noel had 
said that he was anxious to make Christians of the people, 
he (Mr. Sheil) hoped that the Honorable Gentleman 
would not consider him guilty of any very extravagant 



277 



assumption, when he ventured to insinuate to him, that 
a Roman Catholic might, peradventure, be a Christian. — 
Ireland was a Roman Catholic country, and Mr. Noel, if 
really anxious to diffuse education, would take into account 
the peculiar circumstances, the habits, and pre-dispositions of 
the people, in considering the means best adapted to the at- 
tainment of that great object. The general perusal of the 
Bible without any interpretation, was in accordance, per- 
haps, with the desultory and capricious genius of the Pro- 
testant religion ; but, in Ireland, there exists a creed utterly 
incompatible with that wild freedom of opinion, and which 
is so determinate and fixed, as to leave no field for the exer- 
cise of individual judgment in the construction of the word 
of God. The Roman Catholic faith is built upon the Scrip- 
tures, as explained by the Church, and if the lower classes 
were to peruse them without that explanation upon which 
their religion rests, it is not unlikely that they would 
contract opinions inconsistent with the meaning invari- 
ably annexed by Roman Catholics— to the Holy Writ- 
ings. In one word, it is wholly against the principles 
of that Church to turn the Bible into a play-thing for the 
fancy, and submit it to the gross vagaries and monstrous 
imaginations of every loon. The whole dispute narrows it- 
self into a question of fact. Is it, or is it not inconsistent 
with the spirit of Catholicism? If it be so, there is an end to 
argument ; at least it must be admitted that Roman Catholics 
are justified in their strenuous opposition to any attempt to 
subvert their religion. Now, who are the persons best qua- 
lified to determine that simple fact? One would suppose, 
that Roman Catholics themselves were as competent to 
decide the question as those gentlemen who have imported 
into Ireland a new assortment of curiosities in belief, and 
seem determined to establish in this Country a manufac- 
ture of religions. Independently of the objection arising 
from the essential principles of Catholicism, is it not absurd 
to make a task-book of the Testament, and to convert the 
Apocalypse into a primer ? The Scriptures have been refer- 
red to, in order to show that it was the will of God that 
they should be universally perused. For this purpose some 
isolated texts have been tortured into a meaning which they 
do not rationally bear, while those who have poured out 
such a torrent of citation, forget that among the Jews, and 
under the old law, there were many parts of holy writ 
which women were never permitted to read, and which 
men were not allowed to peruse until they had attained the 
age of thirty vears. When Christianity was first established 
2 B 



278 



it was impossible that the Scriptures could have been gene- 
rally read, for the art of printing was not then known, and 
by no other means than that great modern discovery could 
an extensive distribution of the Bible be effected, A manu- 
script of such bulk as the Old and New Testament, must 
have cost a sum which a primitive Christian cannot be 
readily supposed to have been capable of procuring, at a 
period when his poverty was a literal phrase. But let us 
try the expediency of an indiscriminate perusal of the sa- 
cred writings by an appeal to experience. It will scarcely 
be contended that any great advantage can result from a 
multifariousness in religion ; yet, it will not be denied, that 
if each individual is entitled to construe the Scriptures, a 
great variety of interpretation must be the inevitable con- 
sequence. In truth, the inventions of art do not keep 
equal pace with the discoveries in religion. New dogmas 
are every day propounded to us ; they issue with a marvel- 
lous fecundity from every visionary brain ; nor is it to the 
wise and the learned that the world is indebted for these 
fantastic revelations. Those mysterious intimations, which 
have excited the doubts and baffled the sagacity of the 
most illustrious of mankind, are now simplified from the 
summit of a sacred beer-barrel, and from the depth of a 
holy 6tall. Every difficulty vanishes before the inspired 
interpretation of some illuminated Crispin, and the seam- 
less garment of our Saviour is turned inside out by 
some gifted tailor, who alternately cuts out a religion and 
a coat. Of these modem prophets one-half are impostors, 
and the other their own dupes ; but whether they be dupes 
or impostors — Cantwells or Mawworms— or both, (for the 
union of hypocrisy and fanaticism is not unfrequent,) the 
consequences to religion, decency, and common sense, are 
disastrous. The lower classes of the Protestant community 
are driven into a sort of Biblical insanity by this system of 
excitation, and madness, now-a-days, almost invariably as- 
sumes a religious character. He would state a singular 
fact of the lunatics in the Asylum in this city, which he had 
lately visited — there were a great number whose mental 
malady was connected with religion, and amongst those 
who laboured under that peculiar insanity, there was not a 
single Catholic. This circumstance was stated by the bene- 
volent Physician who superintends the hospital, and who 
seems animated by the philantrophic feelings of a Howard, 
in his very able work on insanity, and that gentleman him- 
self was a strenuous Protestant. How could this fact be 
accounted for, but by referring it to the fanaticism which 



279 



the unrestrained perusal of the Holy Writings had produced ? 
An ignorant man, with a heated imagination, sits down to 
read the Bible ; he is told that he is its best interpreter, and 
is illuminated by a special grace — that special grace is but 
a lunar beam, and fills his brain with madness. His deliri- 
ous dreams are taken for the visitation of the Spirit, and the 
images of insanity for the pictures of Heaven. But the 
Roman Catholic has no field for his invention in belief. He 
has a clear, an open, and a long trodden path to follow, and 
jilods his way to heaven without wandering through that 
mazy labyrinth, in which the Protestant enthusiast is left 
without a clue. He has an ample scope for the affections of 
the heart, but has little space for the excursions of the fancy. 
His faith is regulated and certain. He is not cast without 
a chart or compass upon the vague immensity which religion 
offers to the mind, but steers his course in a well known 
track, by a steady principle — a fixed and unrevolving light. 
The Protestant embarks in the Bible upon a voyage of dis- 
covery, while the Roman Catholic makes at once for one 
great haven, and by an ancient and more familiar route. — 
He had, perhaps, pursued this train of illustration too far, 
and reluctantly compared the advantages of the two religi- 
ons ; but he thought it right to observe, that w r hat he said 
was chiefly intended to apply to self-instructed innovators, 
and not to the Members of the Established Church, w hose 
hierarchy was as hostile as the Roman Catholic Clergy to 
the reading of trie uninterpreted Scriptures. Before he sat 
down he should beg leave to make one or two observations 
on what had fallen from Mr. Kenny, who, like the pleader 
in Racine's Comedy, had begun his oration at the commence- 
ment of the world, but had afterwards condescendingly 
passed to the deluge. That Gentleman had discovered, in 
an injunction given to Abraham, a felicitous application to 
Ireland. Providence must have had the Ladies' Auxiliary 
Bible School in view in the Patriarchal times. He would 
not attempt to pursue him in his progress from Abraham to 
Moses — from Moses to King David, and from David down 
to Timothy ; but he would follow him from Jerusalem to 
Wexford, and beg to observe on the animadversions which 
he had thought proper to pronounce upon a recent and 
unfortunate transaction. He meant the trial at Wexford, in 
which he (Mr, Sheil) had been Counsel. The event was 
deeply to be deplored, but it had been greatly misrepresent- 
ed^. It was utterly untrue that the parents of the child had 
beheld its immolation. It was sworn by the father, that 
the crowd was ?o qreat that he was prevented from approach- 
2B 2 



280 



ing the priest, and that he did not even see what was going 
on. In the next place, Mr. Kenny had imputed a belief in 
the powers of exorcism to the Roman Catholic peasantry, as 
if it resulted from their religion ; he (Mr. Sheil) would state 
a most important fact, sworn to by the principal witnesses 
for the Crown, namely, that Protestants as well as Catholics 
were present at one of these deplorable instances of human 
folly, and that a Mrs. 'Winter and her daughter, both of 
them Protestants, knelt down, and called on God to assist 
Father Carroll in working the miracle. Let us not, 
therefore, charge upon this or upon that creed, occur- 
rences so monstrous and so revolting ; let us, rather, in 
the spirit of humility, grieve while we reflect, that they 
arise solely from the infirmity of human nature. To attri- 
bute to Roman Catholics an exclusive belief in demoniacal 
possession was most unjust. A Protestant Bishop, the cele- 
brated Dr. Warburton, had maintained the doctrine, and it 
was one for which Scriptural authority might be quoted. 
He would ask Mr. Kenny, whether the reading of the Bible 
by the lower orders was calculated to remove the common 
superstition, that persons afflicted with epilepsy are possess- 
ed by an evil spirit ? Do not the Scriptures narrate many 
instances of exorcism. It is now held, indeed, that the 
devil has been deprived of this portion of his preroga- 
tive — but surely, a peasant, reading the Scriptures, may 
readily think that what once was common, is at present not 
impossible ; and besides, this very case furnishes an argu- 
ment to show, that the Scriptures require a comment, for as- 
suredly it is necessary that the cessation of Satanic domi- 
nion should be explained to the individual who peruses the 
examples of its former power. So far from thinking that the 
Scriptures are calculated to disabuse the People of this 
frightful infatuation, the perusal of them, without a com- 
ment, was calculated to confirm their superstition. He re- 
gretted that Mr. Kenny had alluded to this painful inci- 
dent, because, in doing so, he had expressed a detestation 
for the Catholic Religion, which was utterly at variance with 
the habitual disclaimers of proselytism. If he and those who 
acted with him, felt so deep an abhorrence for Popery, they 
could not fail to exert themselves to preserve the People 
from so disastrous a belief. It could not be credited, that 
their detestations would not involuntarily ooze out. It was 
not possible that such a metamorphosis should take place 
in Mr. Kenny, as that, on one side of the poor man's 
threshold, he should be a strenuous hater of Popery, but 
the moment he had entered his habitation, to administer 



281 



spiritual relief to his children, he should b« transubstanti- 
ated into an impassionate lover of Catholicity. One advan- 
tage had, however, ensued from the honesty of his (Mr. 
Kenny's) denunciations, and indeed from the whole tone of 
the proceedings. It was clear, that proselytism was their 
substantial object, and that education w T as only an instru- 
ment for the accomplishment of this darling project. He 
begged pardon of the meeting for having so long trespassed 
upon them, but he was bound to say, that however great 
their difference of opinion, he had been heard with libera- 
lity and kindness. He should not abuse it, by entering at 
large into another topic, upon which, before women, it 
might not be delicate to dwell ; he alluded to the many pas- 
sages in Scripture which were written with such force, and 
he might say with such nakedness of diction, as rendered 
them unfit for indiscriminate perusal. There were parts of 
the Old Testament in which images of voluptuousness were 
presented to the mind, on w r hich the imagination of a youth- 
ful female ought not to be permitted to repose. To those 
passages he w ould not of course refer, or point out the for- 
bidden fruit; but he would venture to assert, that the odes 
of Anacreon did not display more luxury of imagination,or 
combine more sensual associations than parts of the Old 
Testament, the perusal of w hich, by women, was wisely 
forbidden by the Jew r ish Church. It was idle to say, in the 
language of modern cant, that the grace of God would pre- 
vent the passions from taking lire. Our daily orison con- 
tains a prayer, founded upon human frailty, that w T e should 
be preserved not only from guilt, but even from tempta- 
tion ; and if the passages to which he alluded were unfit for 
an open citation in that assembly, he could not conceive 
them to be the appropriate theme of a virgin's meditation. 
The warm fancy of a young and blooming girl could not ven- 
ture into the sacred bowers of oriental poetry without peril. 
Besides the objection arising to the warm colouring of the 
Pastoral of Solomon, which was a mystic representation of 
the conjugal union of the Churches, where with unmarried 
ladies need not be made prematurely familiar, it should be 
recollected that the Bible contained details of atrocity at 
which human nature shuddered. Part of the Holy Writ- 
ings consisted of history, and of the narration of facts ; some 
of those facts are Gf a kind, that they could not be mentioned 
in the presence of a virtuous woman without exciting horror. 
Should a woman be permitted to read in her chamber, what 
she would tremble to hear at her domestic board ? and shall 
her eyes be polluted with what her ears shall not be pro- 
2 B 3 



282 



phaned ? Shall she read what she dares not hear ? Shall 
she con over, and revolve, what she would rather die than 
utter ? But these were painful topics — they were forced 
into debate by those who, in their anxiety to annihilate the 
religion of the country, forgot the risk to which its mora- 
lity was exposed. And what good could the achievement 
of this object after all effect? In ceasing to be Catholics, 
were they certain that the people would continue Christians ? 
Let this absurd scheme be abandoned — let the Irish peasant 
live and die in the religion of his forefathers, and let the pro- 
pagators of modern dogmas, who send their missionaries 
amongst uSj remember the denunciation in St. Matthew — > 
u Woe unto you, ye Scribes, ye Pharisees, ye Hypocrites ! 
ye compass the sea and earth to make a single proselyte^ 
and when you have made him, he is two-fold more a child 
of hell than before." 



ME. SHELL'S 

SPEECH 

AT 

THE ASSOCIATION, 

WHEN 

["HE PROSECUTION OF MR, o'fONNELL, FOR SEDITIOUS LAN- 
GUAGE, PREVENTED THE INTENDED DEPUTATION TO 

ENGLAND. 



Mr. SHEIL said, the deputation to England, would 
lot have been without avail. The English are a wise, 
i generous, and lofty -minded people, and w r e should 
lave appealed to their wisdom, to their justice, and to their 
lumanity. We should have disabused them of many mis- 
akes — we should have demonstrated to them, that we are 
lot unworthy of being incorporated in the great community 
>f British citizenship — that our political ethics are much 
setter than they had been taught to think — that there is no 
logma in our religion which renders us unfit for the enjoy- 
nent of civil freedom — that our creed is the faith of their 
^reat progenitors — and that in casting contumely upon our 
opinions, they stamp damnation upon their fathers' graves. 
We should have told them that the Barons of Runemede 
were as good citizens as the Lords of Chancery-lane, and 
hat the sword with which Magna Charta was won, might be 
weighed against Lord Eldon's mace. We should have told 
them that the part which they have acted towards our coun- 
try, reflects no credit upon them in the eyes of mankind — 
that having the excellence of gigantic strength, they should 
not use it in the spirit of gigantic domination — that liberty 
is like light, and is not impaired by its participation — that 
the disfranchisement of seven millions of British subjects 
cannot fail to be productive of great calamities — that we 
are placed in an unnatural, and therefore an injurious re- 
lation towards the empire ; and that it befits their dignity 



284 



to interpose between the contending factions by which the 
country is torn asunder — that they had too long turned 
our furious contentions into sport ; and that it is unworthy 
of them to sit, like the spectators of a Roman theatre, 
at a gladiatorial exhibition of their slaves, and make a pas- 
time of the ferocious passions with which they are arrayed 
against each other in all the insolence of inglorious 
triumph, and all the wildness of infuriated despair.— 
We should have told them that, by a single act of magna- 
nimous justice, they might put an end to the animosities 
which have cost so much English and Irish blood :— That 
our emancipation would be an act of thrift, as well as of 
humanity, and that it became their prudence, as well as the 
grandeur of their national character, and that it is a matter of 
economy as well as of honour, to make us free. " Recon- 
cile us," we should have exclaimed, "as you are wise — as 
you are just, redress us — and in the name of mercy rescue 
us from our own passions, and save us from the consequen- 
ces to which your system of shame and of penalty must ine- 
vitably lead" — and what are those consequences ? If they 
ifere no other than an increase of those heart-burnings 
and animosities, that must either rapidly augment or be 
instantaneously remedied by a great senative act of legis- 
lative wisdom, their anticipation (and it requires but little 
of the spirit of political soothsaying to foretell results so 
manifest) should excite the virtue, if it does not awaken the 
alarm of every honest and enlightened man, and enlist the 
good sense and good feeling of the whole British community 
in our behalf. Things cannot stand as they are. — Either a 
great national reconciliation must be effected, or hostilities 
must be deepened — reciprocal antipathies must be strength- 
ened — new force and activity must be communicated to the 
popular passions — and if the fountain of bitterness is not 
sealed, it must be supplied. Are we to continue for 
ever in this frightful state? Are we to be everlastingly 
marshalled against each other by the infuriating provoca- 
tions of the law ? Are we to be set with a rabid and canine 
fury upon each other ? Are our detestations to be endowed 
with a disastrous immortality ? Is our hatred to be eternal ? 
Is the corroding sentiment which consumes the bosom, 
and preys upon the vitals of our country, to be like " the 
lire that is not quenched, and the worm that dieth not ?" 
Are we to be doomed to an everlasting execration of each 
other ; and when the present generation shall have passed 
away, are our children to rise out of their cradles with the 
same feelings with which their fathers descended into their 



285 



graves ? If there were no other calamity to be apprehended, 
this evil should be regarded as a dreadful one. But there 
are other results, which every wise man can foresee, and at 
which every good man must tremble. May God forefend 
that we should be instrumental in bringing events about, the 
thought of which sends back the blood into the heart ! But 
is it because those events are terrible, that we should clasp 
our hands to your eyes, and hide them from ourselves ? Is 
it because the shadows which coming events " have cast be- 
fore them" are black and sinister, that we should fear to 
trace their dark and sombre outline? For ourselves we may be 
able to answer : we may vouch for our continued endurance of 
affliction; but can we give pledges for the prostration of those 
who are to come after us, and undertake that our descen- 
dants will be the heirs to our patience, as well as the inhe- 
ritors of our wrongs ? We cannot enter into any such recog- 
nizance. But this we can do — we can protest that we shall 
omit no endeavour to prevent the feelings of anguish from 
being turned into a paroxysm of wild and frantic rage, and 
try to keep back those* ebullitions of national emotion, which 
it is not less our interest than it is our bounden duty to re- 
strain, and which, for a considerable period, are not likely 
to burst out. We have been accused (it is right that I 
should speak the unvarnished truth) of entertaining de- 
signs of a revolutionary tendency. The men who have ad- 
duced this charge, proved it to be untrue — but there are 
many who may be misguided by their calumnies ; and as 
we are the martyrs of intolerance, there are others who, in 
forming an estimate of our intentions, may be the victims of 
mistake. There are three tests by which our designs may 
be reasonably tried — our language, our conduct, and our 
personal interests — and to any one of these grounds of pre- 
sumption we may fearlessly appeal. Our language has been 
uniformly moderate, conciliatory, and pacific, in all the 
public documents which have issued from our body. The 
measures which we have adopted have been in accordance 
with the views of the local Government, and we have omitted 
no means to inculcate the propriety of subordination to the 
law and the constituted authorities of the country : witness 
the Resolutions passed at the last Aggregate Meeting, and 
the Address of Mr. O'Connell to the People of Ireland. — 
But there is a further and more accurate touchstone of the 
motives of men to be found in their obvious interest, and I 
will venture to assert, that he amongst us who could delibe- 
rately premeditate a political convulsion, must be insane. I 
do not hesitate to declare, that in my judgment the indivi- 



286 



dual who could for a moment entertain a scheme so prepos- 
terous, should be accounted a sanguinary idiot, and much 
fitter for an asylum than a gaol. There would not be a 
chance of success to redeem the crime of such an under- 
taking. Human life would be wasted without bounds and 
without avail. Carnage would be loaded with all the guilt 
of inutility, and flame would light the sky and massacre 
wet the earth, and hope could not put in its equivocal apo- 
l°gy> or afford its dubious extenuation of outrage, of disho- 
nour and blood. I do not mean to say, that if I had been 
born an American, I should not have joined the standard of 
the Republic. I do not mean to say, that if I had been 
born a Portuguese, I should not have enlisted under the 
banners of Braganza. Where is the Greek, with a heart in 
his bosom, who would not " take by the throat and smite 
the circumcised dogs ?" Where is the Mexican that would not 
exclaim that the land of Montezuma should be free ? But 
the efforts that were noble and just in Portugal* and in 
America, and in Mexico, or in Greece, derived their noble- 
ness and their justice from the probabilities of success, 
which consecrates and canonizes all great political under- 
takings. In Ireland the rebel against the law would revolt 
.against nature. Providence appears to have pre-ordained 
the junction of the two countries; and without arms, with- 
out organization, without concert, with nothing but an un- 
disciplined multitude for the accomplishment of this object, 
what would the leader of a rebellion expect to achieve? 
And where is he ; where is the Cataline, or rather the Spar- 
tacus, who is to head this servile war? Is he to be found 
among the wealthy burghers of the metropolis ? Or are 
we to seek the great disturber among the Bishops of the 
Association ? Is the Primate to convert his mitre to a 
casque, and his pastoral staff to a pike? Or is it my Lord 
Kenmare, with his fifty thousand a year, who is to shake 
the dire dice-box in this desperate game, and commit himself 
to the hazard of revolutionary confiscation ? But, perhaps, 
it is among the lawyers that this regenerator is to be 
found — 

" Loud in debate, and bold in peaceful council, 
But of a slow, inactive hand in war." 

The lawyers! It might as well be imagined that we 
would pull down the dome of the Four Courts on our heads, 
as to subvert a Government, in whose ruins we could not 
fail to perish. Is it not as notorious as, that there is light 



287 



in the heavens — that we, and every man who has raised his 
voice in this assembly, must be blown away on the first 
explosion of a mine, to the train of which they tell us that 
we are about to apply the match ? Mr. O'Connell excite the 
people to commotion ! Has he u eaten of the insane root ?" 
— is he utterly delirious ? — has he been struck with political 
lunacy ? — is he, in a word, stark mad ? Who is Mr. O'Con- 
nell ? Is he a man without station, rank, or fortune ? Has 
he nothing to lose, and every thing to gain from a political 
convulsion ? Is he without the enjoyments that make men 
cling to life — make them in love with peace, and give them 
an endearing interest, and a tender solicitude in the tran- 
quillity of .their country ? Is it his ambition to drive the 
vessel against the rock, that, when it is breaking up, he may 
catch at a single plank, which he could only hold but for a 
moment, and which would be washed away from him by 
the next breaker that should burst upon his head ? Graci- 
ous God ! what feelings would they attribute to him ! Has 
he no home — no character — no stay — no child ? u He," 
says Lord Bacon, " that hath children, gives hostages to the 
law ;" and where is the man that has a single touch of the 
parental instincts about his heart, who would not recoil from 
a desperate enterprise into which, with his own existence, he 
would have to plunge the dearest portion of himself ? So 
much for the man to whom, by the general suffrage of his 
country, the leadership of its people has been assigned. But 
are the people disposed to rebellion ? The pitch cap and 
the triangle are formidable mnemonics. They know that 
the first insurrectionary movement would be followed by 
the re-enactment of scenes of which they have had a terrible 
experience. They have not forgotten the shrieks of tor- 
ture, the reverberation of the whip, the bursting bowels, 
the scorched forehead, and the lacerated back. The scep- 
tre of Fitzgerald stalks through the land. The cries of 
Wright are still ringing in their ears. They hear the 
screams of the victim and the torturer's laugh. They still 
hear the groans that issued from the Riding-house, and the 
Castle-yard ; groans to which Castlereagh was deaf, but 
that were heard in heaven. There is in these recollections 
a terrible admonition. The people recoil from the gulph 
to which the Orange faction would impel them ; but if the 
people shrink from every revolutionary enterprise, are they 
to suppress their complaints ? Are our hearts compounded 
of different materials from the rest of mankind ? " Hath 
not the Jew eyes r" says Shy lock. Hath not the Catholic 
eyes, hands, organs, affections, senses, passions, as the 



288 



Protestant hath ? Fed with the same food, hurt with the 
same weapons, healed by the same means, warmed and 
cooled by the same winter and summer, as the Protestant is? 
If you tickle us, shall we not laugh — if you poison us shall 
we not die — if you torture us, shall we not bleed — and if 

you wrong us, shall we not Revenge is Shylock's word; 

but I will only ask, shall we not complain ? 



MR. SHEIL'S 

SPEECH 

AT 

AN AGGREGATE MEETING, 

HELD FOR THE 

PROVINCE OF LEINSTER, 

IK CARLOW. 



Mr. SHEIL said — In the first chapter of the book 
of Exodus, where the oppression of the children of Israel 
is detailed, the following words are written: — "And 
the Children of Israel were fruitful and increased abun- 
dantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceedingly mighty, 
and the land was filled with them. Now, there arose 
a new King over Egypt, who knew not Joseph, and he 
said unto his people, behold the people of the Children 
of Israel are more and mightier than we ; let us wisely 
oppress them, lest they multiply, and it come to pass that 
when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our 
enemies, and fight against us, and so get them out of the 
land. Therefore they did set even their task-masters to 
afflict them with their burdens ; but the more they afflicted 
them, the more they multiplied and grew, and they were 
grieved because of the Children of Israel ; and the Egyp- 
tians made the Children of Israel to serve them with rigour, 
and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in clay 
and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field, all 
their service wherein they made them serve was with 
rigour, and yet the people multiplied and waxed very 
mighty." I do not wonder that the passage in the Sacred 
Writings, which describes the bondage of a great and pow- 
erful people, in the centre of a mighty empire, and the account 
of the expedients which were adopted for their extinction, and 
2 C 



290 



of the utter failure of all the stratagems of oppression, should 
have produced a strong sensation amongst you. You need 
but little note or comment to teach you the affinity between 
your condition and that of the degraded race upon whom the 
Egyptian masters laid an iron hand. This chapter in the 
Sacred Writings I am most willing to have read without in- 
terpretation. Yes, my Lord, let the peasantry of Ireland be 
permitted to peruse this record of the baseness of tyranny, 
and of its frustration. I am thus disposed to enter into a 
sympathy with the propagators of the Holy Word. Let 
every man, let every child in the land become familiar 
with it. Let it be made the task of daily repetition — let 
it be written in the memory, aye, and committed to the heart 
of the Irish people, I for one will consent to the uninter- 
preted reading the Scriptures, for the sake of this single 
passage ; because I know that there is not a man in the land 
who will not find in his own glowing and indignant bosom 
an application as disastrous as it is faithful, and as terrible 
as it is true. " And the children of Israel increased abun- 
dantly, and the land was filled with them ; and the new 
king said let us oppress them wisely ; but the more they 
afflicted them the more they multipled and grew." There, 
my Lord, is the history of the country in which we 
live. There is an exemplification of the effects which such 
a system must always generate — a system as rash as it is 
eruel, and not more malignant than it is mad ; for, thanks 
be to God, the fidelity of the comparison does not stop at 
the oppression of an injured people : and we may say of the 
faithful adherents to the ancient religion of our country, 
what was applied to the multiplication of the people of God 
— " the more they were afflicted, the more they grew." If I 
were to search for a motto for the penal code of Ireland, de- 
rived from those Scriptures, which the advocates of that 
code have perpetually in their mouths, while a worse than 
Egyptian spirit of tyranny dominates in their hearts, what 
more appropriate inscription could be selected than the 1 6th 
verse of the chapter according to the translation of the 
Church, " Let us wisely oppress them ?" The wisdom, or 
rather the vile and despicable cunning of oppression, first 
dictated that system of penal legislation in Ireland, which 
is, in my judgment, far more grinding and demoralizing 
than that which was resorted to by the Egyptian King. 
Egypt was not guilty of any breach of faith. No treaty was 
signed by Pharaoh's General before Memphis, or before 
Thebes, securing to the Jews the free use df their religion, 



291 



the right to all civil offices, and the enjoyment of their pa- 
trimonies. There was no contract that they should have all 
the immunities which the Israelites had possessed in the 
reign of his predecessor. The Jews, besides, were not the 
natural and original proprietors of Egypt — they had no 
right founded upon ancient possession — they were an alien 
people in Egypt itself — they were, in every sense, strangers ; 
and it was not a very unreasonable feeling, perhaps, to en- 
deavour to root them out. But how stands the case with 
Ireland ? The great body of the people were Catholics — 
a solemn treaty had been signed, by which their rights were 
secured. Upon the faith of the treaty, a strong fortress, 
where there was a foreign fleet laden with arms and men in 
its harbour, was surrendered. And when that surrender had 
taken place, what was done ? I do not find it recorded, that 
any Egyptian Priest, from the altars of Osiris, announced to the 
Egyptians that they should not keep faith with the Jews ; 
but I do find that a Protestant High Priest did, from the 
altars of the reformed religion, within seven days after a 
treaty had been signed with the Irish Catholics, proclaim, as 
a sacred canon of Protestantism, that with the people of Ire- 
land no faith ought to be maintained. I do not hesitate to 
affirm that the penal code of Egypt was not half so base, 
was not half so full of turpitude, was not half so irritating 
and detestable, as those frightful devices which were adopt- 
ed in this country, not for the oppression but for the utter 
extinction of the Irish people. The Egyptians imposed 
every sort of humiliating necessity upon their slaves — they 
sunk them to the meanest offices of labour, and they "made 
their lives bitter with hard bondage." But they did not 
make parricide the basis of legislation. Pharaoh said, " let 
us wisely oppress them/' but he did not say, let us take the 
estate from the grey-haired father, and let us give it to the 
ungrateful, the apostate, and hard-hearted son. It is not 
my intention to enter into the details of that most barbarous 
code, which was, it must be owned, the best contrived 
that could be devised by Satanic sagacity for the degra- 
dation of the Irish people. If, by any possibility, there 
could be wisdom in oppression (and I thank God that there 
cannot) then might the legislators of 1703 have justly said, 
" let us wisely oppress them." But the event has proved how 
short-sighted tyranny always is; for in place of extinguishing 
the Catholics of Ireland, they have given a new exemplifi- 
cation of the necessary results of tyranny, and have raised 
up an enormous mass of population, which has multiplied 
under affliction, and " waxed exceedingly mighty, and the 
o C 2 



292 



land is filled with them." The very means adopted for the 
suppression of the Irish Catholics tended directly to their 
increase. The lower orders, reduced to the condition of 
the most miserable wretches, more than fulfilled the primeval 
malediction ; and, without earning their bread, covered their 
brows with sweat and sorrow. They necessarily lost all re- 
lish for the comforts of domestic life. Their standard of 
happiness was reduced. The wants of society passed away , 
while the impulses of nature remained in their full activity. 
The result has been, that a vast population has grown up. 
It has swollen to a portentous magnitude. It has come in 
like the tide of the sea, and like the tide it will sweep every 
artificial barrier at length before it. It was found necessary 
to relax the laws, which while they could not, as the expe- 
riment proved, diminish the strength, exasperated the pas- 
sions of the people. The Penal Code was mitigated. Thir- 
ty-seven years have passed since that time. A slow pro- 
gress was made in effecting the work of reason and justice 
in one department of the Legislature, At length the House 
of Commons passed a Bill for the relief of seven millions of 
British citizens. It was supposed that the first Minister of 
England could not but yield to the powerful suggestions 
which were conveyed to him from the House of Commons. 
Rumours went abroad that the Earl of Liverpool had been 
converted. The great debate in the Upper House took 
place ; and, if not the King, yet he that trusts to survive the 
King, and who is, for all purposes, the real and substantial 
master of the country, started in vehement opposition to the 
great measure of equalization, and verified the words, "and 
there arose a new King over Egypt ;** and I regret to be 
enabled to add, that he seemed to have said to the Irish Pro- 
testants, " behold, the people of the children of Israel are 
more and mightier than we ; therefore let us oppress them 
wisely.** This new King, or rather this Prince, with a con- 
tingent remainder to the Crown — this Pharaoh, in expec- 
tancy, has laid oown this maxim in Coptic policy, and in- 
voked the people of England to its adoption. He has en- 
joined the perpetuation of that system, which " makes our 
lives bitter with hard bondage." Yet, it was to be desired, 
that this highly endowed and philosophic Prince, had recol- 
lected that the people of Ireland have already multiplied, 
ajid that (< when there falleth out a war," there should be no 
temptation administered to their passions to revolt against 
their duty, and that he has not suggested the most efficient 
means to prevent them from "joining also to our enemies, 
and fighting against us." I would to God, that in his capa-r 



293 



city of Bishop of Osnaburgh, his Royal Highness were to 
imbue himself with the true spirit of the sacred text, and 
find an intimation in the first chapter of Exodus, of the fruits 
which oppression must always produce, and of the Provi- 
dence by which it has been enacted, that it shall defeat 
itself. But let his Royal Highness look to Ireland, and 
without reference to abstract speculation, he will discover 
the futility of every effort which has been or can be made, 
short of summary and immediate extirpation, for the subju- 
gation of a people. Has the Penal Code had the effect of alie- 
nating the people from the religion of their country ? — 
Has it diminished their zeal and ardour ? Is there less 
enthusiasm, less energy, less resolve ? Has their power 
decreased, and have their numbers fallen away ? On the 
contrary, they " have multiplied and waxed very mighty. " 
For, in what does the might of people consist ? In their 
wealth, their intelligence — in their firm and concentrated 
purpose — in their lofty enthusiasm — their fearless devoted- 
ness — the deep conscientiousness of their rights, and the 
unalterable determination to assert them. And what, let 
me ask, is, under such circumstances, to be done ? The 
best course would be, to revert to Egyptian policy again. 
The Malthus' school of political economy must have flou- 
rished in the reign of Pharaoh, and adopting the very 
plausible doctrine of the transmigration of the soul, which 
Pythagoras borrowed from Egypt, it is not very unreason- 
able to presume, that the spirit which has found a temporary 
residence in the Rev. Mr. Malthus, might once have inha- 
bited some depopulating Minister in Memphis or in Thebes, 
who probably suggested to Pharaoh the monstrous calami- 
ties of Hebrew multiplication, and prescribed a remedy for 
so frightful an evil. In the loth verse of the first chapter 
of Exodus, it is said, " The King of Egypt spoke to the 
Hebrew midwives." Unless my Lord Eldon shall introduce 
a Rill touching the duties of the professors of the obstetric 
art in Ireland, there is no hope of anything substantially 
useful for the promotion of the Protestant religion ; and, 
even if Lord Sidmouth, or rather Dr. Addington, to whose 
province this medical bill would more appropriately fall, 
should adopt this hint, it is to be apprehended that the 
Popish midwives would seek an excuse in the apology of 
the Hebrew ones, who said, " The Hebrew women are not 
like the Egyptian women, for they are lively/' and soforth, 
" therefore God dealt with the midwives, and the people 
multiplied and waxed very mighty." I am, therefore, 
induced to fear that even an Act of Parliament, founded 
2 C 3 



294 



upon this principle of Egyptian ethics, to arrest the growth 
of Popery in Ireland, would be unavailing. When legisla- 
tors have nature and her great laboratory to contend with, 
they make sad work of it. But why, you may well ask, 
have I said all this to you ? To what end is all this bitter 
jesting, (for I own that it deserves no better, if so dignified 
a name,) employed ? I have no other apology than the 
excuse of the satirist " ridiculum acri," and what is in itself 
utterly absurd as well as enormous, should, perhaps, be 
treated, for the sake of variety, with alternate mockery and 
indignation. And, after all, indignation is the more apt 
and fitting, and a far more worthy mood into which the 
mind of every Catholic, or I should rather say, of every 
lover of his country, ought to be thrown. Here are seven 
millions of British subjects despoiled of the great privilege 
of citizenship, degraded, debased, and branded. And in 
what does the superiority of the Protestant to the Catholic 
consist ? Where does it lie ? Alas ! I should not put that 
question with too much boldness. There is one great and 
essential particular in which the Protestants greatly surpass 
us, and Til tell you what it is. It is not the ascendancy of 
intellect — it is not the predominance of faculty — it is nothing 
of this kind. Their superiority lies in the strength and 
efficacy of a combined and undivided energy — in the equal 
and simultaneous march — the parallel and unbroken move- 
ment — the solid square — the phalanxed tread. It is in the 
simple power of union that all their force resides. But we 
— alas ! my Lord, how fatally applicable are the words of 
the Apostle to the Corinthians — " There is strife and divi- 
sion amongst you." Let there be, in the name of common 
feeling and common sense, a termination to these ignomini- 
ous contests. Our passions have been vented upon an 
hypothesis. We say that if' the Wings are proposed we 
shall object to them. The whole contest turns upon the 
contingency of their revival. It all lies in a supposition. — 
" Your if" says Touchstone in the play, " is a great peace- 
maker." But we have reversed its application to the rules 
of quarrelling, and turned it into a great war-maker, I am 
myself against the Wings ; but what matters it who is the 
champion and antagonist of those measures. The principle, 
not the condition, of Emancipation is at stake My two 
excellent friends, Mr. G'Connell and Mr. O'Gorman, will 
forgive me when I tell them, that the support given by the 
one, and the opposition made by the other, are equally inap- 
plicable to the state of our cause. They are both volunteers 
m this contest of speculation. There is a strange knight- 



295 



errantry in their gratuitous contentions, in which I observe 
a large infusion of the chivalry of La Mancha. My friend 
Mr. O'Gorman, the Knight of the Cheerful Countenance — 
armed a cap-a-pee, in a panoply of principle, and, with 
the Mambrino helmet of high sentiment glittering upon his 
head, precipitates himself against the wings of a windmill, 
in which he beholds a gigantic danger ; while the Green 
Knight — bearing a golden shield emblasoned with a harp, 
and with (( toujour s vert M for his motto, rushes forth in de- 
fence of the aerial fabric, runs full tilt against my chival- 
rous, high-minded, but, he will pardon me for calling hirr^ 
my somewhat Quixotic friend, 



MR. SHELL'S 

SPEECH 
AT THE ASSOCIATION, 

ON THE 

REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS 
OP EDUCATION. 



Mr. SHEIL said — the Report of the Commissioners of 
Education is a document of signal importance, as it may 
lead to measures which may deeply and permanently affect 
the religion, the moral habits, and the national feelings of 
the Irish people. It is the result of a scrutiny extorted by 
reiterated complaint, and affords a strong proof that by re- 
peated shocks, the best defended holds of domination 
may be shaken to the ground. For many years we 
were told, that our charges against the Kildare- street Soci- 
ety, were the effusions of factious acrimony. Our remon- 
strances were treated with contumelious silence or arrogant 
disdain. But we persevered in demanding investigation, 
and at length we succeeding in obtaining inquiry, if not re- 
dress. So far an important point has been gained, and we 
should learn from this experiment the power that resides in 
the Public. A commission, consisting of two English- 
men, two Irishmen, and a native of North Britain, was 
appointed. Of the Scotch investigator into Irish intelli- 
gence I know nothing. Mr, Glassfort was, if not recom- 
mended, at least approved of, by Sir John Newport — a man 
whose praise derives a high value from his being himself an 
object of panegyric. Mr. Frankland Lewis is a liberal and 
enlightened man, to whom certain fanatical predelictions have 
been, I believe erroneously, attributed. But the great and 
prominent feature of the Commission was Mr. Leslie Foster, 
a gentleman who, if he be not very conspicuous for any 
splendid qualifications, is in private life entitled to t^ie praise 
of an honourable exemption from defect. He enjoys a well- 



297 



founded reputation for the immaculate purity of his life. — 
While I yield him this unreluctant commendation, I think 
it right to add, that even in his public conduct, w hich alone 
concerns us, I am not disposed to impute to him any disin- 
genuousness of purpose. On the contrary, I am willing to 
think that the fantastical gravity w ith which he gives ut- 
terance to his astonishing dogmas, is genuine and unassum- 
ed. His description of the Roman Catholics descending 
from the mountains, and his dissertations upon the hetero- 
geneous wedlock of Catholics and Protestants, are singular 
specimens of the influence which fanaticism will exercise 
over an honest but somewhat romantic mind. It was of Mr. 
Leslie Foster that Mr. Plunkett observed, that " he turned 
history into an old almanack/' It is a pity that he did not 
live some hundred years ago. Had he been a member of the 
venerable order of Benedictines, the theology of the mid- 
dle ages would have derived a more mysterious obscurity 
from his labours. He would have added to the " black 
lustre" of scholastic divinity, and would have been ingeni- 
ously unintelligible and uselessly erudite. He is thrown away 
upon the nineteenth century. It is strange that a man, pos- 
sessed unquestionably of no ordinary faculties, should exhi~ 
bit such a perversion of powers. His mind is worm-eaten 
with prejudices. He is an idolator of usages and a worship- 
per of all that is : a sort of Pangloss in politics, w ho thinks 
that " every thing is for the best in this best of all possible 
countries/' But his affinity to fictitious characters does not 
stop here, for with the principles of the learned instructor 
of Candide, he combines a resemblance to the pious peda- 
gogue in Gin/ Mannering, and, by a felicitous alliance in 
this valuable Commissioner of Education, we behold Pan* 
gloss and Ihmijiie Sampson united. To this Gentleman, a 
single Roman Catholic was yoked in the Commission. Mr. 
Blake is a N very able, and I will add, an honest and high- 
minded man ; and it is to the combination of integrity and 
of skill that distinguishes that Gentleman, that I refer most 
of the very useful matter that is to be found in the Report. 
When placed in such an inauspicious juxta-position w ith Mr. 
Leslie Foster, it is rather wonderful that he did so much., 
than that so little has been accomplished. It is, however., 
extraordinary, that upon a question involving the interests,, 
and touching the feelings of the Roman Catholic Body, a 
single Roman Catholic only should have been appointed. — 
A stronger infusion of Catholicism was requisite in order to 
neutralize Mr. Leslie Foster. Let us, however, deal with 
candour, and admit, that with all its imperfections, the Re* 



298 



port has done one act of signal humanity and justice; I al- 
lude to the disclosure of the atrocities of the Charter Schools 
of Ireland. The truth has been revealed in all its appalling 
hideousness ; and the charges which were so frequently and 
so unavailingly brought forward against these barbarous and 
demoralizing institutions, have been fully and unequivocally 
established. Again and again the people of Ireland had in- 
voked the interference of the Legislature — again and again 
had we exclaimed against the barbarities which were prac- 
tised in those seminaries of flagellation. The little wretches, 
we said, who are torn from their parents' arms, and cast 
into those academies of apostacy, are the victims of famine, 
disease and torture. Many a frantic mother rushed before 
the public tribunals ; and, stretching out her arms, called 
upon Justice to give her back her child. But Justice was 
deaf. It was believed that Mr. O'Connell had no other 
authority for his allegations than some factious affidavit ; 
and that these accusations were the results of a plot against 
the Protestant religion. But, at last, f and I thank God for 
it,) the veil which hid the sacrifice of infants to the demon 
of proselytism has been rent asunder. Where is the father 
that will not shudder at the perusal of the evidence which 
has been laid before the English people"? I say the English 
people, because it is peculiarly upon that great nation that 
these horrible disclosures may be expected to produce the 
most powerful effect. Little do they suspect that the Pro- 
testant religion propagates its tenets with a rod dripping 
with infants' blood. One of the tenderest characteristics of 
the celestial philosophy of our Saviour was his affection for 
those pure and innocent beings, by whom he loved to be 
surrounded. " Suffer little children to come unto me," was 
his divine and gentle adjuration. The teachers of the re- 
formed Christianity of the Established Church have im- 
proved upon this amiable precept. They not only " suffer little 
children to come unto them," but they snatch them to their 
chartered adoption — they tear them from the cradle — they 
rend them from the maternal heart — and inclose them in 
those receptacles of torture and of starvation, of which the 
Report has furnished so heart-breaking a picture. It is in 
the Charter Schools that these " little ones " receive a con- 
firmation of their title to the " Kingdom of Heaven." The 
Kingdom of Heaven ! The first sound that strikes the ear 
in Virgil's descent into the infernal regions, is the cry of 
children. The classical erudition of Mr. Leslie Foster, 
when he crossed the threshold of those abodes of calamity, 



299 



vhich he was deputed to explore, must have recalled to 
him — 

" Continuo auditce voces, vagitus et ingens 
Infantumque animce jientes in limine prime" 

And he might well have added, in reference to the loss 
of all " the sweets of life," and the deprivation of a mother's 
tenderness — 

" Quos duleis vitce exsortes, et ab ubere raptos 
Abstulit atra dies, et funere mersit acerbo." 

Let me not be accused of indulging in exaggeration — let any 
man peruse the evidence contained in the Report — let him 
read no more than p. 16 of the volume in my hands — let him 
but glance over the record of torture, and if he has a heart 
of flesh in his bosom, every generous instinct must be stir- 
red into indignation, and he must exclaim " abominable " at 
every word. I care not a jot what religion the individual 
who peruses this frightful book may profess. I care not how 
deeply incrusted with prejudice his soul may be — but if he 
has a drop of human nature in his veins, those atrocities 
must make his blood run cold. Fathers and mothers of Eng- 
land, read this book of abominations, and raise up your 
hands — not in our cause, not in the cause of Ireland, not in 
the cause of your abject vassals — but in the cause of child- 
hood, of nature, and of God. I repeat it, Sir, the Report, 
as far as the Charter Schools are concerned, reflects great 
honor upon the Commissioners, and it is due to them to add, 
that they have not only asserted the interests of humanity, 
but have pointed out the baneful effects upon the moral ha- 
bits of the Protestant population, which such a system must 
produce. The lower orders of the Protestants are supplied 
from the Charter Schools. In page 29 it is stated, that a 
thousand children who had remained in their wretched ca- 
bins, would, upon a general average, be in every respect 
more valuable members of society than a thousand children 
educated in a Charter School, whose minds are debased by 
a system of u severity and terror." I give great credit to 
Mr. Blake for this dexterous insinuation. He was drawing 
a picture of the Protestant populace which is recruited from 
these store-houses of depravity. But for my part, I think 
that if the system by which this country has been governed, 
is to remain unaltered, it were policy to let the Charter 
Schools continue. He is the most efficient tyrant who has 



300 



been the vilest slave, and the little renegades who have gone 
through the process of laceration, having risen up to the 
dignity of Orange manhood, will derive a lesson in barba- 
rity from the recollections of their boyhood ; and whenever 
the era of lashes and of triangles shall return, will approve 
themselves the more expert and experienced practitioners in 
the art of flagellation. And now, Sir, having said thus 
much in praise of one portion of the Report, let me be per- 
mitted to enter into the less pleasing task of pointing out its 
manifold defects. In the first place, the basis of education 
is the indiscriminate perusal of the Scriptures — see page Q8 
of the Report. The opinion not only of Catholic but 
of Protestant Divines upon this subject, is well known. 
Doctor Magee objects to it almost as strongly as Dr. Doyle. 
It is a calumny upon our religion to allege, that we wish to 
deprive the people of the use of the Scriptures ; but we do 
think, that it is not a book fit for the unassisted perusal of 
every shoeless urchin, and that we should not make a 
primer of the Word of God. That Catholics are not opposed 
to a proper distribution of the Bible is manifest, not only 
from their declarations but their acts. A most admirable 
translation of that Divine Book has been recently published 
in Paris, by Monsieur de Genoude, a gentleman equally 
eminent for bis piety and his literary qualifications. It is 
in general circulation among the Catholics of France, and is 
universally recommended by the Clergy. But our very 
admiration of the Holy Writings forbids their uninterpreted 
diffusion among those classes of the community who are 
incapable of understanding their true sense — and we think 
it absurd that every hard-handed mechanic and miserable 
tiller of the earth, should be at liberty to construct a religion 
for himself. I have often, in passing by a conventicle, or 
any other manufactory of creeds, paused to listen to the 
dismal and discordant howling of their fantastic psalmody ; 
and I could not help thinking that it would be an improve- 
ment on their music, if Watt's hymns were sung to the 
appropriate tune of " I'll follow my own vagary, oh !" We 
may, perhaps, be wrong in holding that religion is not a 
matter of vagary ; but we are sufficiently absurd to prefer 
the decrees of Councils to the visions of conventicles, and 
we do not admire the precocious theology of a village 
school. Now, what have the Commissioners done ? They 
recommended that the Protestant and Catholic children 
should be educated together, and each party is to be sup- 
plied with Bibles in order to carry on their puerile polemics. 
In page 97 they say, <c means should be taken to supply the 



301 



Protestant children with the Testaments /." Mark the 
plural — the Old and New Testament. The Protestant 
child who sits beside the Catholic,, is to be initiated in the 
interesting details of criminality contained in the history of 
the Jews — while his Popish neighbours are to be denied all 
access to those pure and salutary sources of information from 
which so much useful knowledge maybe derived. The 
Protestant is unincumbered by any comment, while the 
Catholic is fettered by interpretation. Offer to yourselves 
the picture which a school so constituted must exhibit. 
Take a hundred little imps — place them together in the 
same school — let there be fifty Popish ragamuffins seated 
beside as many little aristocrats of the Established religion 
— each draws forth his Bible — the Papist studies the note, 
and the Protestant is immersed in the unadulterated word 
of God. The beardless theologians are gradually drawn 
into controversy ; a question of orthodoxy is started : a 
wrestle takes place for St, Peter, and the merits of transitu- 
stantiation are decided in a boxing match. The gospel i- 
converted into a missile, and heads are broken with Holy 
Writ. These, and scarcely any other consequences can 
arise from the distribution of Bibles among the neo- 
phytes of the new-fangled Christianity, which is to be 
founded by Messrs. Foster, Glassford and Co. I come 
to another portion of their recommendation. They advise 
that n herever a considerable excess of Catholics is to be 
found, there shall be two teachers, one of whom shall be a 
Catholic. It follows (but this I admit is implication) that 
wherever there are not two teachers, the single teacher is to 
be a Protestant. So that there must be a Protestant teacher 
in ever v school, and the Catholic teacher is limited, as a 
kind of contingent appendage to the establishment. The 
Protestant is to have a specific lien, but the Catholic (to use 
a legal phrase) is to be a sort of hovering incumbrance 
upon these appurtenances of the Protestant religion. The 
Commissioners do not condescend to specify the number of 
Catholics who shall require an additional teacher. It is 
convenient to be indefinite and v;?gue. It is, however, 
proposed that there shall be an itinerant instructor in reli- 
gion — a wanderer from parish to parish — a parochial vaga- 
bond — a pedlar in religion, who shali hawk his tenets about 
from school to school — a peripatetic pedagogue — an ambu- 
latory tutor in the sacraments, who shall travel through the 
country and disperse the Catholic religion through the land. 
The Commissioners are sufficiently unadvised to propose rn 
expedient of this kind, where it shall not be convenient to 
2 D 



302 



employ a regular and fixed instructor in the Catholic faith, 
Furthermore, they propose that all the teachers shall be 
educated in Kildare-place ! Is it, then, from this poisoned 
source that the currents of national intelligence are to be 
derived ? The stream will carry the taint of the fountain 
to the last. u Let me have the writing of the ballads, and 
I will govern the people," said a Statesman, " Give to 
Kildare-place the writing of the tracts/' says Leslie Foster^ 
" and they shall believe in whatever vagary I will." But, 
say the Commissioners, there shall be a Board of Education. 
They do not condescend to tell us how it shall be composed 
— nay, do not advise that a single Catholic Prelate shall 
have any share in it. The Government are to appoint these 
managers of national intelligence, and the education, reli- 
gion, and morality of the people of Ireland are to be hand- 
ed over to them. And shall we consent to this ? My 
answer shall be brief, simple, and intelligible — Never ! And 
let me add another and equally emphatic negative — never 
shall we consent to the amalgamation of the Catholic and 
Protestant in the school-room, until they shall have been 
united in the State. I am opposed to the essential and vital 
principle of the Report — the conjunction of the two religions 
while the law keeps them apart. In this particular the 
Report is insidious — Leslie Foster lies in ambush in this 
recommendation. He would insinuate that Catholics and 
Protestants may be united by a conjunction of forms, and 
a juxta-position of desks. The Penal Code will, he thinks, 
disappear in foot-ball and pitch-and-toss. Even there he is 
wrong. The Protestant boy will enter the school with all 
the aristocracy of his superior religion. He will come with 
his Bible in " his satchel/' and his " morning face " shining 
with the sense of his juvenile ascendancy. If Catholics and 
Protestants are educated together, they will hate each other 
with a precocious detestation. The Protestant will enter 
the school imbued with the arrogance of his religion. The 
Catholic will be galled by the consciousness of his inferiority, 
and as a school has been called a microcosm, the passions of 
boys will but anticipate the ferocity of men, and in place of 
the tragic farce which is enacted in a larger theatre, the 
puppet-show of religious acrimony will be performed upon 
minor boards. And why should we be united in boy-hood, 
if, in maturer years, we are to be divided and rent asunder? 
This Report upon Education is of a piece with the Burial 
Bill. We are enabled by that Bill to rot by the side of our 
Protestant masters. The honorable dust of a Protestant 
Gentleman is henceforth to be blended and prophaned by au 



303 



ignominious comixture with Popish carrion. The centipe- 
des, who have revelled upon the banquet, which is sup- 
plied by a Protestant Bishop in the grave, may turn, for the 
sake of a cadaverous variety, to the more spare repast which 
will be afforded by a Popish Priest. This comixture of the 
two sects in the grave has been already provided for. The 
Commissioners of Education are solicitous that we should 
meet in the beginning as well as in the end of life — we are 
to be buried and cradled together. What ! are we to be 
joined in infancy and in death, and are we to be separated 
in manhood, and in all the nobler and more useful stages of 
existence? Let there be an end to this miserable delusion. 
The people of this country cannot be reconciled as long as 
the law administers to their detestation. The law has raised 
a barrier, which, as long as it stands, must keep the two 
sects asunder. Abolish the law, and the people will meet 
Tike confluent waters. Until that source of disunion shall 
have been removed, it is in vain to hope for abetter feeling. 
Why should children be taught to love, if men are to be 
taught to hate each other ? The Carthagenian brought his 
son to the altar, and devoted him to an eternal hostility to 
the enemies of his country. I borrow the image from the 
Attorney-General himself, who, in a magnificent exclama- 
tion, appealed to the example of Hannibal, in laying down 
the principles upon which the youth of Ireland ought to be 
instructed. Far be it from me to adopt the eloquent exag- 
gerations of that patriotic and impassioned person ; but this 
I will say, that until there shall be a pacification proclaimed 
by the Legislature, it is in vain to expect any temporary 
amnesty ; and if it be determined that the system of exclu- 
sion shall continue, the curse of the Carthagenian Queen 
(since again I must refer to our Phoenician origin) should 
be pronounced upon us, 

" Turn vos, o Tyrii, stirpem et genus omne futurum 

rc Exercete odiis ; cinerique haec mittite nostro 

u Munera. Nullus amor populis, naec fcedera sunto." 



2 D 2 



MR. SHELL'S 

SPEECH 

ON THE 

PROSPECT OF WAR. 



Mr. SHEIL said — War, my countrymen, war has been 
announced. This event,, of which intelligence has been re- 
ceived within this hour, and which will make the heart of 
every man in Ireland leap within him, ought to banish 
every subject of small contention from our minds, and 
expel the spirit of discord which seems ready to start up 
and which, if it be not instantaneously crushed, may 
frustrate, in this eventful crisis, all that we have been so 
long labouring to accomplish, and which the great incident 
which I have thus abruptly proclaimed to you, is, if we 
are not determined to mar our own fortunes, so materially 
calculated to accelerate. Is this the time for wretched dis- 
sensions about agents, and salaries, and debits, and credits, 
and accounts ? Is it when the trumpet has sounded that 
tremendous blast, which will be re-echoed from Portugal 
to the Pyrenees, and which the Alps will take up — is it 
when Europe seems ready once more to rise into universal 
warfare, and the world is about to be disturbed again from 
its repose — is it at such a time, and under those awful and 
most appalling and prophetic circumstances, that we should 
assemble to deliberate, or I should rather say, to dispute, 
about the nomination of a local agent in London? — • 
There is better, and nobler matter in hand. War — war has 
been annouced. I hold in my hand the Message of 
the King, which refutes his Speech. We were told at the 
opening of the Session, that the tranquillity of Europe was 
to continue undisturbed ; and yet, after the lapse of only a 
few days from the utterance of that piece of Legislative 
mummery, we are informed, in a tone of solemn serious- 
ness from the Throne, that his Majesty appeals to his peo- 
ple for their support in the martial struggle in which he is 



305 



about to engage. Compared with the deep repose and 
brilliant aspect of prosperity by which this intelligence 
was preceded, the news of war has come upon us, like the 
*.ound of the cannon, which the author of " Childe Harold" 
has described with so much power, in his picture of the fes- 
tivities of Brussels ; and we may well exclaim, in the lan- 
guage of the great poet — 

It is, it is the cannon's opening roar." 

Why do I call it f4 the opening roar" of the cannon? It 
is because 1 consider the war that is to be waged on the 
banks of the Tagus, as the mere prelude to the events 
of which the Rhine and the Danube may be bloody wit- 
nesses. It is because I regard the war in Portugal as 
likely to lead to results, by which England will be again 
in hostilities with the world. It is a war that concerns not 
a mere cession of territory — not an island in the Archipe- 
lago, or the West Indies — not the mere boundary of a pro- 
vince, or the limit's of a newly-discovered region. It is a 
war of principle ; it contains all the great elements of dis- 
sension : it is a war which brings the too great factions of 
Europe into shock ; it is a war in which France, and Russia, 
and Austria, and Prussia, are involved in feeling, and in 
which their bayonets, as well as their interests, must at last 
be crossed. The question is simply this — shall a new pattern 
of liberty, shall another sample of democratic reform be 
held out to the world ? " Yes," (and it does Canning im- 
mortal credit) cries England — " No," cries Russia — "No," 
cries Austria — " No," cries Prussia ; and will France say 
" Yes ? " I don't think she will ; or if she says " Yes," the 
sound will issue from the Thuilleries in the tone of a nega- 
tion. It is preposterous to imagine that the Bourbons of 
Spain are at variance with the Capets of France, There is 
a principle of tyrannical sympathy, a sentiment of domestic 
despotism, to bind them together. I consider the reference 
to France in his Majesty's message, as a diplomatic fraud. 
The Bourbons know that the arm of liberty is a long one, 
and that after rooting out depotism from Portugal, it will 
stretch so far as to pluck up the " Fleur de Lys " at Madrid. 
The Princess Regent of Portugal in confederacy with the 
Duchess of Angouleme ! He must have a special gift of 
faith, who can bring himself to believe that such an alliance 
can be effected in favour of liberty. I take it, then, to be 
reasonable to calculate, that the elements of a great war are 
put into action, and I own, in the spirit of discontented fear- 
2 D 3 



306 



lessness, that I rejoice at it, Alas ! to what a miserable 
condition are we reduced, and how painful it is to think 
that one-third of the subjects of this great empire, and se- 
ven millions of the Irish people, are so far sundered from the 
State, and alienated from their natural and legitimate duty, 
that they cannot help (for we can help it) feeling a sentiment 
of disastrous and desparate exultation, in whatever portends 
calamity and is ominous of ill. I do confess that I regard 
it as a sort of reproach to us, that we should derive a fero- 
cious joy from events which will cost so much human life, 
and which will be followed by so much woe and misery 
in their train. But unhappily millions of the people may 
be said to stand in such a relation to the empire, as to verify 
the description of those confederates in ruin, of whom an 
author of antiquity has said, " nihil spei nisi ex discordiis 
habcnt" The wretches who are confined in the hold of a 
ship, rejoice in the whistling of the blast, and in the 
roaring of the waves : — they exult in the tempest, and hail 
storm. We are like a troop of negroes in a slave ship. — 
If the law would give us leave, we should be as at- 
tached to the Government under which we live, as any 
portion of our fellow-countrymen ; perhaps we should be 
more so, because the sense of political duty would be 
heightened into gratitude, and exalted into enthusiasm. But 
as things stand, we are compelled to exclaim in the language 
of the fallen spirit, " Evil, be thou our good." It would be 
absurd to question, that it is from the distresses of the 
empire that our best expectations must be derived. Facts 
bear us unhappily out in this most unfortunate calculation. 
There never was a concession made to Ireland which was 
not wrung from disaster, and extorted out of fear. Witness 
the treaty made by the Duke of Ormond with the Catholic 
Confederates, when they had arms in their hands. Witness 
the great national compact of Limerick, which was signed 
while a French fleet was in the Shannon, and while the 
Irish cannon was pointed at the Dutchman's camp. Witness 
the Acts of 1778, and 1782, which were passed in seasons 
of peril and of alarm ; and above all, witness the great 
Statute of 1793. In the preceding Session the very same 
Bill was thrown out, by an immense majority, from the Irish 
House of Commons ; and in the next year, upon the same 
night on which the Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant 
announced the declaration of war, a motion was made by the 
Minister for leave to bring in a Bill for the relief of His 
Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects. This may be called the 
language of violence. To be sure it is, and what other 



307 



language becomes the time? I repeat it — the people of 
Ireland exult in war, and in the prospect of its results. 
They expect that it will awaken a sense of justice. They 
expect that it will lead to Emancipation. They expect that 
English Statesmen will see the impolicy, or rather the utter 
insanity of keeping alive the spirit of discontent amidst so 
vast a mass of population, in times of such probable emergency 
as the present. We have in our character all the materials of 
loyalty, and all the generous tendencies to gratitude. Let 
us be only put upon a kind of equality with our fellow- 
countrymen — let the badges of disgrace be torn off, and the 
marks of dishonour be effaced ; let us be but permitted to 
forget the injuries which we have already suffered, and the 
wrongs which we are still condemned to endure — let, in 
short, common justice be done to us, and of a more faithful, 
and true, arid grateful people, the annals of the world will 
not afford a model. But if an opposite course be adopted 
in our regard, then it is but common honesty to avow, that 
the feelings, the unconquerable feelings of human nature, 
and the inborn instincts of the heart of man, will be as 
powerful as the sense of moral obligation, and though we 
shall abstain, as in duty bound, from all acts amounting to a 
violation of law — though God forbid that we should ever 
be so guilty or so mad as to have recourse to any foreign 
power, or to desire an utter subversion of the state, yet we 
cannot help fearing that the time may come, when the 
Statesmen of England shall repent them of their signal 
mistake, and when they will have cause to exclaim, (though 
the exclamation may come too late,) " Would that we 
had done justice to Ireland I" But that justice w r ill in time 
be done is not only my hope, but my expectation, and I 
entertain a confidence, that the events which are passing in 
the world, however attended with temporary disaster, will 
ultimately lead to the most useful consequences, by hasten- 
ing that great measure, which, by conciliating Ireland, will 
give an eternal stability to the Empire. 



MR. SHEIL'S 



SPEECH 
AT THE ASSOCIATION, 

UPON THE PUBLICATION OF 

WOLFE TONE'S MEMOIRS. 



Mr. SHEIL said — I hold a book in my hand, which 
has recently arrived here from America, and in which 
there is a remarkable passage corroborative of our oppo- 
sition to secret Societies, and to all ill-organised association 
among the peasantry, of which spoliation is the object, and 
of which their own destruction must be the result. The 
book to which I refer is the life of the — (how shall I desig- 
nate him ?) — the unfortunate and deluded Theobald Wolfe 
Tone. Of his character upon this occasion, it is not neces- 
sary to say anything, except that he was loved and prized 
by all those who knew him, and more especially by Mr. 
Plunkett and Doctor Magee. He was chivakous, aspiring, 
and enthusiastic, and possessed not only of great talents, 
but what is in politics of still more importance, of dauntless 
determination. In the diary which he kept in Paris, when 
engaged in a guilty enterprise for the invasion of Ireland, 
he states what bears immediately upon Mr, O'Connell's 
exhortation to the Irish people to abstain from all illegal 
and merely local combinations. The late General Clarke, 
who was afterwards Puke of Feltre, conceived that a sys- 
tem, which, during the French Revolution, was called 
chouannerie, and which corresponds with the Captain Rock- 
ism of this country, would be of use in Ireland, and that 
through its means the Government might be embarrassed, and 
the people be prepared for a junction with an invading force. 
Tone objected to this proposition for the excitation of a 
servile feud. He said, in the first place, that it would 
lead to unavailing atrocities, in the promotion of which no 
good man could assist ; and that in the second place it 
would produce a barbarous and irregular warfare, which it 
would be extremely easy to suppress, and which would give 



309 



the Government the opportunity of passing coercive laws, of 
introducing a military police, and of crushing the spirit of 
the people. That Wolfe Tone was right, events have abun- 
dantly proved. And now, Sir, having adduced this power- 
ful authority in corroboration of the views of my learned 
friend, I shall proceed to make some observations upon some 
other parts of this very remarkable book, written by a man 
who perished in a cause, in which Washington succeeded, 
and Kosciusko failed. The work, which is edited by his 
son, principally consists of a journal, kept by him, while 
he was Secretary to the Catholic Committee, and afterwards 
when he embarked in three several undertakings, two of 
which were not very extravagant, for the introduction of 
the French army into Ireland. The first volume contains 
much wholesome admonition to the Catholics, and in the se- 
cond, matter will be found, at which the Catholics ought 
not to be flushed, but which should make Protestants turn 
pale. While Secretary to the Irish Catholics, Tone had an 
opportunity of observing the fatal effects of disunion arising 
in our own body, from the secession of the gentry, and the 
miserable spirit of trickery and accommodation evinced by 
the Catholic leaders, in the bargain which they struck with 
the Minister in 1793. He states it as his conviction, that 
if in the embarrassed condition of England, with the pros- 
pect of war without, and of insurrection within, the Catho- 
lics had been firm, the Ministers would have given way, 
and that complete emancipation would have been carried. — 
Whoever reads the political diary of Mr. Tone, will be con- 
vinced, that the men who influence the councils of the fto- 
man Catholics, will only consult their own interest by acting 
with spirit, energy, and determination ; that they must rely 
upon the people for their exclusive support ; that the public 
passions are t€ the elements wherein they live, and have 
their being and that whenever they listen to the false 
blandishments of authority, and manifest a willingness to 
compromise the great, the essential, and fundamental rights 
of their fellow-citizens, they will inevitably prove the dupe* 
of official artifice, and of their own unwise cunning. But, 
I thank God, that the admonitions, given in Wolfe Tone's 
diary, are now unnecessary. Even upon the confession of 
our enemies, we are firm and united. There is no dis- 
sension arising, either from individual jealousies, such as 
tore the former Catholic Committee asunder, or from 
any principle, by which the popular and aristocratic party 
might be separated. Collectively and personally, we have 
but a single object, and that we are determined, stre* 



310 



nuously and undauntedly, to pursue. But, Sir, I said, that 
the supporters of ascendancy ought to look pale in turning 
over the memoirs of Tone. I would fain commend them to 
the nocturnal vigils of the Cabinet ; and if there be any 
man who, in reading what I say, shall be disposed to smile, 
(for what I say is meant for the whole of this country, and 
will reach far beyond the walls of this contracted room,) I 
would bid that sardonic reader recollect, that a fleet, 
composed of seventeen sail of the line, with fifteen thou- 
sand Frenchmen on board, an immense park of artillery, 
and fifty thousand stand of arms to supply the population, 
ought to awaken reflections, of which scorn should not con- 
stitute a part. I allude to the expedition from Brest in the 
year 1796, which Tone projected, and which was com- 
manded by Hoche. But I introduce the subject too ab- 
ruptly. It is right to put you first in possession of the ex- 
act circumstances in which Tone was placed, in order that 
3 f ou may judge how much was accomplished by a single 
man in the midst of difficulties which it is almost wonderful 
that he should have surmounted. In the year 1795, Tone 
retired to America with his wife (an incomparable woman) 
and two children. He had eight hundred pounds in the 
world. At first he formed an intention of remaining in the 
United States, but liberty and the Savanahs were not enough 
for him. Tone was one of those restless spirits who feel 
that they are born for great undertakings, if not for great 
achievements, and who, though they may not be able to wed 
themselves to fortune, woo her at all hazards. He set 
*ail in an American vessel for France, with a mind full of 
hope, and with no more than one hundred guineas in his 
pocket. He arrived at Havre on the 1st of February, 1796, 
and proceeded at once to Paris. When he was placed in the 
midst of that city, and stood upon the Pont-neuf, he look- 
ed upon the vast array of palaces turned into the domici- 
liaries of democracy ; he saw the metropolis of France in all 
its vastness and its glory, and he also felt what Seneca 
has so well expressed — u civilas magna, magna solifudo." — 
Although without a friend, nay, (for the former is not so 
uncommon) without an acquaintance, poor, desolate, thrown 
as it were, and shipwrecked upon France, his great de- 
sign did not leave him. He was sufficiently daring to 
present himself to the Minister of War, Charles Lecroix. — - 
What do you think were his chief credentials ? Two votes 
of thanks from the Catholic Committee. He scarcely knew 
a word of the French language, yet, he succeeded in com- 
municating his views to Lecroix. The latter referred him 



311 



to General Clarke, the son of an Irishman, and who had been 
in Ireland himself. It is not improper to observe in this 
place, the extraordinary ignorance of General Clarke respect- 
ing his father's country. Will you believe it ? Clarke asked 
Tone two of the most astonishing questions that were ever 
3'et proposed. First, whether Lord Clare would join in an 
insurrection ? And secondly, whether the Irish, who, he 
heard, were addicted to regal government, would be dis- 
posed to put the Duke of York on the Throne ? Why do 
I mention these circumstances ? In order to make you feel 
how much better theFrench are now acquainted with the state 
of Ireland, and therefore how much more imperatively neces- 
sary it is to conciliate the Irish people. I do not think that 
Mons. de Villele, or Mons. Clermont de Tonnere, would 
ask whether Lord Manners would join in invading France, 
or w r hether, (if Providence had not been pleased to remove 
his Royal Highness to a better world) we should be inclined 
to place him on the Throne which was occupied, I suppose, 
by one of the ancestors of Mr. O'Connell. It w r as with the 
utmost difficulty that Tone could break the crust of preju- 
dices with w r hich Clarke's mind was covered. He took at 
last a wise determination, and went directly to Carnot, the 
President of the Directory of France. Carnot was justly 
called " the organizer of victory," and he was induced to 
extend his genius for organization to Ireland, Theobald 
Wolfe Tone succeeded so far, as to induce the French Go- 
vernment to determine upon an invasion of this country. 
At first the project was lamely and imperfectly got up — 
But to prevail to any extent, was to do much. It is mat- 
ter for surprise that such a man as Tone, without rank, for- 
tune, or a single friend, could accomplish so much. Yet it 
remains to be seen that he did much more than has hither- 
to appeared. The French at first proposed to send only 
2,000 men. Tone saw at once that such a measure would be 
utterly absurd. By much ado, he persuaded them to in- 
crease the army to 8,000, with 50,000 stand of arms. At 
length Hoche, a General of great fame, was induced to put 
himself at the head of the expedition ; and as he felt that 
great objects must be attained by great means, he required 
15,000 men, a great body of cannoniers, a vast supply of 
artillery, and arms for the whole population. Such was the 
force that sailed from Brest. There w ere seventeen ships of 
the line in attendance upon the army. It w r as W r olfe Tone 
who accomplished all this — it was his mind, his vigorous 
and aspiring mind that filled the sails of that great fleet, and 
wafted them upon their course. But that navigation, tor- 



312 



tunately for Ireland, was not successful — a storm sepa- 
rated the fleet. The ships had to pass through a strait called 
" the Raz/' -which caused them to part. Hoche was blown 
with seven ships of the line away, but ten sail of the line, 
with 6*,000 troops, and an abundance of arms, commanded 
by Grouchy, reached the Irish coast. Tone says that he 
was so near, that he could have chucked a biscuit on shore. 
A landing might have been most easily effected. But the 
instructions of the Directory were, that they should pro- 
ceed to Bantry Bay. There they did proceed, and for five 
days — mark it, for five days, ten French sail of the line lay 
in one of our harbours, having a body of troops on board, 
who, with the aid of the people (and they had muskets for 
them) might have marched to Dublin. It may be here 
remarked, that Grouchy was the commander. Tone says 
— <e All now rests upon Grouchy — I hope he may turn 
out well." Twice had this man the destinies of nations in his 
hands, and twice he abused his trust. The expedition failed. 
Pious men attribute the failure to Providence, and navi- 
gators to the wind. I put this plain question. If steam 
vessels were then in use, would not the event have been 
different? 1 answer: had steam-vessels been at that time 
in use, the expedition would not have failed, or in other 
words, 15,000 Frenchmen would have landed, with arms 
sufficient for the array of an immense population. The fai- 
lure of this enterprise did not break the spirit of Wolfe 
Tone. In the year 1797> another expedition was prepared in 
the Texel, which consisted of 1 5 sail of the line, 1 1 frigates, 
and several sloops. There were 14,000 men on board. A 
second time the winds, " the only unsubsidised allies of 
England," conspired in her favour. The foul weather 
prevented them from sailing. A third expedition was 
undertaken in 179$. Had the design been executed with the 
same sagacity with which it was planned, the result might 
have been different. But Humbert, who had no reputation 
as a General, and did not deserve any, precipitated himself 
into it, and sailed before Kilmaine, who was at the head 
of 9,000 men, and thus, by his absurdity, frustrated the 
whole project. Yet the 1,200 men, commanded by 
Humbert, arrived at Castlebar, and struck terror through 
Ireland. Lord Cornwallis advanced with the whole British 
army to meet him. — Tone fell into the hands of his enemies, 
and anticipated the executioner. Men risk their lives for 
a drilling a day, mount the breach for a commission, perish 
for a word — it is not to be wondered, then, that such a 
man as Tone should, for the accomplishment of such 



313 



great ends as he proposed to himself " have set his life 
upon a cast ;" and as it is to be feared that, w hile hu- 
man nature continues what it is, individuals will be always 
readily found with a passion for political adventure, 
who will " stand the hazard of the die," it would be wise 
on the part of Government to snatch the dice from the hands 
of such men, and, if I may so say, to leave them no 
table for their desperate game. I do not introduce the 
name of Wolfe Tone for the purpose of panegyric. — I 
regard his projects with strong and unaffected condem- 
nation. In any convulsion which may take place in Ire- 
land, it is likely that the individuals who are most active 
in Catholic affairs, would be amongst the first victims. Any 
man who has the least stake in the country must look with 
alarm at events which cannot be produced by their an- 
ticipation, and I am not one of those prophets who are 
able to verify their own prognostications. The humblest 
man amongst us is substantially interested in arresting 
those disasters of which we have had already some experi- 
ence. He who lives on the ground floor ought not t.) 
wish the roof to fall in. But while my ardent wishes 
are offered up for the peace and tranquility of my coun- 
try, I own that my apprehensions are differently directed. 
If I refer to the past, it is because I consider it an image of 
the future. In incidents gone by, it is easy to discover the 
archetypes of events to come. Let me, then, put this ques- 
tion — if a single man, without fame, rank, influence, or 
authority, unknown and unrecognised, was, by r the force of 
his unaided talents, and his spirit of bold enterprise, able, in 
the course of two years, to effect three expeditions against 
Ireland, what may not hereafter be dreaded ? Observe, too, 
the change of circumstances. When Tone embarked in his 
enterprise there were but three millions of Catholics — now 
there are at least six. What has England to look to ? To 
the increase of population — to the augmentation of intelli- 
gence and of public spirit — to the union of six millions as 
well as to their numbers — to the minute acquaintance which 
is now possessed of every creek in our island, and every 
passion in our minds ; but above all, to the very important 
modification which the feelings and opinions of the Catholic 
Clergy have undergone, and to those fatal facilities which 
the application of a newly discovered power in the physical 
world has afforded to the enemies of the British empire. 
No man has given a finer, and, at the same time, a more 
accurate description of the effects with which the use of the 
steam-engine upon the ocean will be attended, than Mr. 
2 E 



314 



Canning. He said, in his exceedingly beautiful speech* 
delivered on the eve of his departure for India, at Liverpool, 
that steam had taken from the winds their proverbial fickle- 
ness. The imagination of the Honorable Secretary has been 
lately a good deal busied in the cavern of iEolus, to whom, 
as war minister, he not unhappily compared himself. The 
steam-engine has interfered with his dominions in the Bri- 
tish Channel, and, however he may be able to control certain 
moral elements of destruction, and " ride on the whirlwind/' 
in the metaphorical sense of the word, yet, the former 
c( unsubsidised allies of Great Britain," are no longer of any 
avail to him. What, in the name of common sense, could 
induce the Honorable Secretary to threaten France with 
the excitation of her stormy and discontented spirits, while 
he has six millions of indignant subjects of this country to 
control at home ? He will, by referring to the classical 
writer from whom he derived his felicitous assimilation of 
JEolus to himself, find a passage or two, which may 
bring to him the recollection of those, of whom it may be 
said — 

<c Illi indignantes, magno cum murmure montis, 
Circum claustra fremunt." 

Talk, indeed, of arming the genius of Republicanism against 
the Bourbons, and evoking the phantom of revolution. To 
use a vulgar phrase, the Honorable Secretary " lives in a 
house of glass," and should refrain from throwing his rhe- 
torical projectiles. Chateaubriand, Hyde de Neuville, and 
Monsieur de Beaumont, taunted him with Ireland — they 
dashed the wrongs and feelings of the Irish people in his 
teeth. But let me do him justice — he is, I believe, well 
aware of the dangers, indeed he has said so, of our condi- 
tion ; and if he does not insist on their removal, it is not 
that he loves Ireland less, but that he loves office more. 
Assuredly, when he is plunging the empire into a war 
whose ultimate event it is almost impossible to foresee, he 
should demand the pacification of Ireland, or bid the Cabinet 
farewell. May he not justly assume a bolder tone, and say 
to his colleagues — " I have hurried England into a war — - 
the whole power of France may be raised against her — her 
fleet is recruited — steam has been discovered — her armies 
burn for revenge — six millions of British subjects must not 
be kept in a state of alienation from the State ; read Wolfe 
Tone and emancipate the Catholics, or be the consequences 
on your own heads, for I will act with»you no more." But, 



315 



Sir, I said, (for I revert to the book before me,) that the 
Irish Protestants ought to peruse it with deep attention. It 
is impossible for any man to read the details of Tone's expe- 
dition, without feeling that the country was saved by a kind 
of miracle. The country may, however, be placed a second 
time in the same peril, and a second miracle may not be 
performed. Providence may become weary of a reiterated 
interposition. If 15,000 Frenchmen, with 100,000 stand of 
arms, were to land in Ireland, gracious God, what would 
befal every one of us ? I am not, I protest to Heaven — I 
am not speaking thus, either from hatred to my political 
superiors, or in order to excite the passions of that commu- 
nity to which I myself belong. I speak thus with an honest 
solicitude, to induce men to consider the really perilous state 
in which we are all placed. They sleep in a disastrous 
security. The somnambulist treads the brink of a precipice 
— he receives a shock in awakening him — but it is mercy to 
seize and drag him from the gulph. There is a most extra- 
ordinary inconsistency in the conduct of the Irish Pro- 
testants. They are panic struck, when there is not the 
least ground for alarm, and to real danger they are ut- 
terly insensible. In the year 1824, we all remember with 
what horror almost every Protestant looked forward to the 
1 st Jan. 1 825,because it was said that there was a prophecy in 
that tissue of follies, Pastorini, that the Protestants were to be 
massacred. As the periodapproached, dismay exhibited itself in 
almost every face. Not only the women were affrightened out of 
their wits, but I have heard that a pious Sergeant at Law, used 
every night to lay his head to rest, after offering up his ori- 
sons for the continued enslavement of his country, with a 
Bible at one side, and with a blunderbuss upon the other. 
At dinners, balls, and Tea-and-Tract Associations, nothing 
was heard of but the 1st of January, 1825: — the 1st of 
January went by, and people were astonished that they still 
carried their heads upon their shoulders ; and yet the very 
class of persons who were actually convinced that their 
throats were to be cut, and shook with terror at the mention 
of Pastorini, are deaf to the thunder of the French cannon. 
It astonishes me that they should shut out all reflection up- 
on these most awful and momentous subjects of alarm. 
Perhaps, however, this species of insane insensibility to real 
danger lies in human nature. The inhabitants of the town 
of Portici, which is built upon Herculaneum, scarcely think 
of the burning mountain at whose foot they live. The Pro- 
testants of Ireland resemble them. Their estates, if I may 
to say, are but various strata of confiscation : the whole 
2 E 2 



316 



system is raised upon a volcanic foundation — the fabric of 
their power, like the palaces of Portici, may be said to be 
built of lava, and they are overhung by that mass of inflam- 
mable matter of which they have reason at every instant 
to apprehend the eruption. There is, however, this diffe- 
rence between them and those who live at the foot of Ve- 
suvius; the latter cannot put Vesuvius out; but the Irish 
Protestants might, if they thought proper, extinguish the 
Volcano. 

[[The above Speech as printed in the Morning Register, 
was selected by Mr. Plunkett, for the purposes of prosecu- 
tion. The obnoxious passages have been omitted in this 
work— Mr. Sheil, at the Catholic Association, insisted that 
the Attorney General had employed more imflammatory 
language, and referred also to Mr. Spring Rice's pamphlet 
on the state of Ireland. The following is an extract from 
Mr. Sheil's speech upon that occasion.] 

A pamphlet, written by Mr. Spring Rice, has just come 
out, which contains not only as strong matter as my speech, 
but exactly the same matter, conveyed in a still more ardent 
expression than my own. I hold that very able tract in my 
hand, and I beg the Attorney General's attention to the fol- 
lowing passage. After stating the conduct of England to- 
wards this country, Mr. Rice, in his letter to Lord Liver- 
pool, which is greatly admired at the Castle, proceeds 
thus : — 

u The feeling which that conduct excites, is hatred ; you 
teach us to look upon England as an oppressor. The mea- 
sure of emancipation, carried triumphantly so far as the 
votes of the Irish Peers and Commoners are concerned, is 
rejected ; and by what influence ? By your Lordship's in- 
fluence in the House of Peers. The refusal is that of Eng- 
land ; the demand being that of the Irish nation. The 
Union is naturally considered as having afforded the means 
of this refusal ; and England and the Union are fast becom- 
ing words of reproach amongst us. But whilst Great Bri- 
tain is thus considered in the light of a cruel parent, who 
refuses to his child his birth-right, third parties are not idle. 
There are, who express, though they may not feel, a sym- 
pathy for our misfortunes. There are, who affect to love 
us, because they deeply hate you. The eyes of foreigners 
are turned towards Ireland, and voices are raised as if real 
sympathy was felt for our afflictions. France tells us, that 
*he detests the intolerance that excludes and applauds the 
spirit that claims admission. America maintains the same 
language, prompted ana made more inveterate by the sug- 



317 



mtio&J of the exiled republicans of 1798. Your Lord- 
ship's text to Ireland is — view in England your inveterate 
enemy — look abroad for your sympathising friends. My 
Lord, this is a dangerous lesson ; and if it acts upon hearts 
but too much disposed to receive the impression, its conse- 
quences may, at some future time, be not only seen, but 
felt. The manufactories of Pittsburg may yet change angry 
discontent into armed resistance ; and the steam boats of 
Havre and Brest may prove dangerous visitants upon the 
Irish shores," 

Will any man, will the Attorney General himself, will 
the veriest placeman that ever clung with a miserable tena- 
city to office, and immolated every principle and every feel- 
ing to a love of dishonourable power, venture to allege that 
I have spoken one half so vehemently as Mr. Rice has writ- 
ten ? Is not this passage a thousand times worse than any 
thing that has ever passed my lips ? And let the public, 
let tne Irish Protestants observe, that what I spoke in the 
ardour of popular harangue was set down in all the delibe- 
ration of studied and systematic composition by Mr. Rice. 
I spoke, if I may so say, by the torch, while he wrote by 
the lamp. But unfortunately there is still a greater diffe- 
rence between us. He is member for Limerick, and voted 
for Mr. Plunkett against Lord Farnham. Pie may be used 
fur another turn, whilst I, who can be of no Parliamentary 
use to the Attorney General, am, for the very same lan- 
guage, to be made a victim, and sacrificed to the interests 
of this illustrious placeman. But there is yet more in Spring- 
Rice's pamphlet — let me read the conclusion of it to you and 
to the country. After describing the civil wars, Mr. Rice 
eloquently proceeds as follows: — 

" Sir \V. Petty computed, that in his time the loss of hu- 
man life, during eleven years of war, exceeded 600,000, 
At that period the population of Ireland amounted to 
1,4-66,000, it has now swelled to 7.000,000. The forces 
then employed in Ireland (30,000) were four times the mili- 
tary strength now stationed there, and their expences reach- 
ed the sum of £13,200,000. The destruction of property, 
in houses alone, is calculated to have exceeded £2,000,000 ; 
and the total loss, in wealth, to have amounted to 37,000,000). 
I shall not alarm your Lordship by calculating what might 
be the loss of lives and property, supposing similar event* 
to take place at present. My Lord, Sir William Petty con- 
cludes his summary of this carnage by stating — " For this 
blood somebody should answer to God and to the King." 
Do not let this awful responsibility rest with your Lordship ; 
2 E 3 



318 



avert whilst there is yet time these horrible calamities : se- 
cure the happiness of Ireland by doing her people justice ; 
secure the strength of Britain by preserving the integrity of 
the empire. Yet a moment is given for reflection and 
for repentance — "the night cometh, when no man can 
work." 

Gracious God ! (exclaimed Mr. Sheil, after reading this 
passage) gracious God ! is the writer of this passage to be 
permitted to escape ; nay more, is he to be lauded in the 
language of Parliamentary cant, as " his eloquent and ho- 
nourable friend/' by the Attorney General; and am IP- 
Shame on Mr. Plunkett to act such a part as this ! — to let 
the wealthy, the useful, the convenient, the high, and the 
Parliamentary, go by, not only with impunity but with 
honour, and to fasten upon me, who am guilty of no other 
offence than speaking with ardour what I feel with intensity, 
in order that he may throw me into a prison, and depriving 
me of my livelihood, by locking me up from my profession, 
leave me " to live upon the vapour of a dungeon.*' But 
u on tjiat vapour " I had rather live, than act such a part as 
Mr. Plunkett is performing. His mind cannot be at rest. 
He must say to himself, that if he were in my condition, he 
would feel the wrongs which I endure as keenly as I do, and 
in trampling upon me, and committing me to ruin, a sen- 
timent of self reproach must prey on his heart's core. 



MR. SHEIL'S 



SPEECH, 

IN TRACING THE FUTURE COURSE 

TO BE ADOPTED BY THE 

CATHOLIC BODY. 



Mr. SHEIL said, I hold in my hand the names of six- 
teen gentlemen, resident in the County Galway, whom I beg 
to propose as Members of the Association. Lord French, 
who has recently distinguished himself by a valuable mani- 
festation of political zeal, is at their head, and I am assured 
by my friend Mr. Power, who has requested me to propose 
this list, that every Catholic of respectability in the County 
would unite with us, had not a report gone abroad that we 
had last week adjourned our meetings until November. In 
November, when the proceedings of the Association will 
have been resumed, our assemblies will exhibit an object as 
imposing as was ever presented by that body, of which we 
are regarded by many as the substantial image. We have 
already obtained a powerful hold upon public opinion, and 
may justly boast that the representatives of the many classes 
of our community have enrolled themselves in this new cor- 
poration for the benefit of Ireland. We have two Archbi- 
shops at our head. You, my Lord Gormanstown, preside 
in that chair. My Lord Killeen stands beside you, and his 
noble father (noble in every sense of the word, which, when 
applied to him, carries a better signification than it bears in 
the Herald's office) has this day given us a proof of his con- 
tinued devotion to that cause of which he has so long been 
the useful ornament. Some of the wealthiest and most in- 
fluential Merchants and Agriculturists in Ireland are at this 
moment here. They who anticipate a failure of this impor- 
tant experiment, labour under a great delusion. The pub- 
lic feeling has already been declared in our favour, and if, 
even at this season, when Dublin is emptied of half its popu- 



320 



lation, and the persons who habitually take the most active 
part in our proceedings, are necessarily absent, we assemble 
as numerously as the retainers of the Minister at the close 
of a Session of Parliament, it may be reasonably expected 
that in November the same zeal, force and energy will be dis^. 
played as were formerly evinced, and that in place of dissolv- 
ing in its own weakness, the New Association must perish by 
another and more efficient law, than the fatal enactment 
by which our advocates have, if I may so say, banished their 
clients out of court. Thank God that they have not succeed- 
ed in paralysing the energies of the Irish People, and that the 
same determined spirit prevails through the whole mass of the 
Catholic population. Of that feeling I have had myself some 
noble evidences. In W exford, the theatre of so many frightful 
scenes, there exists a sentiment as vivid and as intense as if 
its inhabitants had never been the peculiar witnesses of the 
disasters of their country. So far from being deterred from 
the performance of their political duties by those calamities 
in which they bore so large a part, they appear to feel that 
Catholic Emancipation is the only effectual preventive of 
their recurrence. The assembly which was held in Wex- 
ford, exhibited more enthusiasm than 1 have ever observed 
in any public meeting. It presented a most noble and ad- 
monitory spectacle, and derived from the associations with 
which it could not fail to be attended, an awful, and I may, 
perhaps, call it an appalling impressiveness, <( How long/' 
I said to myself, as 1 surveyed that accumulation of human 
visages burning with intense emotion, " how long will the 
Cabinet of England continue to foment the passions that are 
raging in that vast body of bold, devoted, and enthusiastic 
men ?" It is to be lamented, that in the midst of so much 
high and generous feeling, there has been an omission upon 
the part of the Catholics to adopt the practical means of en- 
forcing their claims, and that by neglecting to register their 
freeholds, a risk has been incurred that Lord Stopford may 
be again returned to Parliament. I called on Caesar Coi- 
clough, who was at the meeting which I have described, to 
oppose him. I invoked him by his brother's grave ; the ad- 
juration was vain. He shed tears, indeed, but refused to 
stand the contest. 1 then applied to Mr. Chichester, who, 
despite of his being son-in-law to my Lord Anglesea, is a 
friend to Ireland. Of Mr. Chichester I augur well. He 
professed in a manly and unaffected tone his conviction of 
the necessity of Emancipation, and gave intimation, if he 
did no more, of his disposition hereafter to offer himself as a 
Candidate. Lord Stopford may hold the county for the next 



321 



Session, but it is impossible that he should permanently re- 
tain it. In Waterford, a most valuable feeling has sprung 
up. Villiers Stuart must be returned ; Lord Waterford has 
effectually contributed to his success. Think of the politi- 
cal infatuation of that feeble-minded person ; notwithstand- 
ing the denunciation of Orange badges by men of all par- 
ties, Lord Waterford has recently dressed his own band in 
orange and blue, and exhibits his musicians, attired in that 
livery of insult (for such it may be called) in the most con- 
spicuous part of the city from which his title is derived. — 
Is not this the very wantonness of Ascendancy ; and is it to 
be wondered that the Catholic serfs of the most puissant and 
preposterous Marquis, should revolt from their allegiance, 
and obeying the dictates of their consciences and every in- 
stinct of honorable pride, should throw off the yoke of their 
political villainage! In Kilkenny, (for, my Lord, you will, 
perceive that I am retracing my progress,) a corres- 
ponding spirit is universally prevalent. The Protest- 
ants of that county have conspired with the Catholics. A 
Petition already signed by eight Protestant Peers, and al- 
most all the Aristocracy, is in rapid circulation. The 
Catholic Meeting is attended by the chief Gentry of the 
county, and Butler Clarke may soon have reason to recite 
the Penitential Psalms in the same doleful tone with which 
he pronounced his first Parliamentary essay against the As- 
sociation. The Meeting at Clonmel was distinguished by 
the attendance of several able and eloquent Ministers of our 
religion. The Priests who delivered their sentiments upon 
that occasion, spoke the feelings of the whole body of our 
Clergy, and if there be a circumstance peculiarly auspicious 
it is, I think, the energetic sympathy which the Priesthood 
have manifested in the national cause. I have, my Lord, 
upon former occasions, expressed my conviction, that it is 
principally through the instrumentality of the Clergy that 
the rights and power of the Catholics will be presented to 
the English People in a just light, and, in my judgment, I 
cannot too frequently revert to this important topic. It is 
clear, that we must resort to other expedients besides those 
which we have hitherto adopted. In order to advance the 
question it is not sufficient that we should petition the Le- 
gislature after our habitual fashion. Something must be 
done to give it an impulse, and propel it through the mind 
of the English people. There must not be a monotony in 
our call for redress ; our question will go round without ad- 
vancing ; we shall revolve in the same dull rotation without 
being in the least degree progressive. Suppose that we pre- 



322 



sent our usual Petition in March next. The measure may 
pass the Commons, but the same causes which have hitherto 
contributed to its rejection in the Lords, will still remain in 
operation. The public ear will become tired by the rei- 
terated burden of Catholic grievances, and in order to ex- 
cite the popular, and I may add, the legislative interests, 
we must devise some measure which shall make a great and 
permanent impression. It is not mere novelty that I am 
disposed to seek — I look for some expedient which shall at 
once arrest the attention of the Empire, and present the evils 
of our condition in a light which shall glare upon the public 
eye. Something must be done at which men will start. Seven 
millions of British citizens in a state of indignant exaspera- 
tion ; boiling with the fierce passions which shame and wrong 
produce ; animated by a single and undivided sentiment, 
and moving with a common, and, I trust it will eventually 
prove, an irresistible impulse ; this is a great object, and 
such a spectacle should not be presented under any ordi- 
nary view. It is not a mere annual debate in Parlia- 
ment, returning in wearisome succession, and bequeathed 
by one expiring Session to the next, which becomes a 
crisis like the present. What, then, (I return to the 
interrogation,) what shall be done to strike a blow 
upon the English mind? I think that a great instru- 
ment of political effect lies in our reach. It is no visi- 
onary scheme — no idle and fantastic speculation ; we need 
but stretch forth our hand to grasp it. I propose, my 
Lord, that the Secretary of this Association do forthwith 
insert in an official book, to be kept for the purpose, the 
name and the address of every Parish Priest in Ireland, and 
that a letter be addressed to each of them, requesting their 
co-operation in the objects which the Association have in 
view. Thus an individual intercourse with every Parish 
Priest in Ireland will be established, and we shall have an 
active and powerful agent in every parochial subdivision of 
the country : — we shall thus obtain a series of conductors, 
through which the feeling which we are solicitous to circu- 
late, will be readily conveyed. From one extremity of the 
land to the other, a regular and uniform communication will 
be set on foot, through the Catholic Priesthood, and a great 
national agency will be established. This being effected, a 
general census of the population may be taken in a week, 
and what is still more important, that population may be 
organised into supplication, and disciplined in what I may 
call the tactics of petitioning. Hitherto we have been desul- 
tory and irregular in our movements ; one county petitioned 



323 



and another did not ; and there was no accordance in time 
or place, nor any simultaneous movement of the national 
mind. We must learn to kneel down together ; we must 
learn how to perform this universal genuflection. On the 
same day, and at the same hour , a meeting mu9t be held 
under the direction of the Parish Priest in every Parish 
Chapel in Ireland. Offer to yourselves, in anticipation, the 
effect of such a proceeding. If the people of Ireland meet 
on the first of January, 1 826, in their respective houses of 
worship, and send a common cry for liberty from the altars 
of God, will not that cry reach into the Cabinet — make its 
way to the Throne — echo through the Chambers of West- 
minster, and make — even Eldon start ? Two thousand 
three hundred petitions, signed upon two thousand three 
hundred altars, and rushing at the same instant into the 
Councils of the Legislature, may not excite alarm, but can- 
not be treated with contempt. But I may be asked how 
can the Association effect all this ? I answer, the Associ- 
ation is not to effect all this. We have no right to petition 
for the redress of grievances, but we are entitled, by a spe- 
cial clause, to promote education. We shall array the 
Clergy for an end w hich is perfectly legal, and when they 
shall once have been marshalled — when once the political 
apparatus shall have been prepared, it will be the office of 
another Association, which shall sit for fourteen days, (the 
period allowed by law,) to make use of the instruments 
with which they will have been provided, and to turn the 
means which we devise for the attainment of one object, 
into the achievement of another. It is for us to plant the 
tree of knowledge — it is for others to graft liberty upon it. 
We assemble the people to give them instruction. Finding 
them assembled, it will be for others to point out the way 
to freedom. This brings me to the third expedient to which 
I have adverted. By the law as it stands, an Association 
for the redress of grievances, may exist for fourteen days. 
The law itself has given us a useful intimation, I thank 
Mr. Plunkett for the hint. Much may be done in fourteen 
days. They will afford a Session to the people. Perhaps 
the brief duration of such a body, as the law permits, will 
render it still more imposing. An Association may be 
formed which will have as great an effect upon the public 
mind as the former body, and the exertion necessary for its 
vigorous sustainment need not be so permanently vigorous. 
I propose the following plan : Let the Hierarchy, the 
Nobility, the chief Clergy, the Gentry, the great Agricultu- 
rists, the leading Merchants, the Catholic Bar, and the 



324 



members of the professions, assemble on the first day of the 
next Session of Parliament. This would, indeed, be a 
National Convention, not representing the people, but being, 
in some measure, the people itself, and containing the 
essence — the abstract — the very core of the country. It 
appears to me most easy of accomplishment ; indeed, I 
see no difficulties at all in the way of its achievement. Even 
if there were great impediments, we should fearlessly and 
determinately encounter them. " Possunt quia posse viden- 
tur," is a maxim founded in the depth of our nature ; for 
the confidence of success is almost success itself. When 
was any thing great or noble or elevated accomplished by 
men who made a nice calculation of feasibility ? Did the 
great Carthaginian, when he arrived at the foot of the Alps, 
draw forth his mathematical instruments, to measure the 
height of Mount St. Bernard above the sea ? He rushed 
at once up the mountain, and burst its rocks with the 
ardent spirit of his own fiery and aspiring mind. Nothing, 
I repeat it, great or noble, was ever achieved by minute 
calculators of difficulty ; and rightly was it observed by 
Voltaire, that it is not so much high faculty, as determina- 
tion of character that achieves political success. If there 
were great obstacles in our progress — though difficulties 
should be heaped upon each other, and " Alps oh Alps 
arise," we should not be deterred from pursuing the steep 
and rugged path which should lead to liberty. But, thank 
God, " the way is clear and open," and we have in reality 
but few impediments to surmount. I have, my Lord, 
expressed my opinions, and perhaps at too great length > 
upon that question which involves so much of our interests. 
I thought it not inappropriate, that as I conceive the Asso- 
ciation should adjourn until November, to suggest what I 
regarded as the best plan of future action which the Catho- 
lics could adopt, distinguishing between the objects which 
it is legal on our part, as Members of the Association, to 
pursue, and those ulterior ends for which we may prepare 
the way, and which it will be the province of a distinct 
Association, founded upon a different principle, and of li- 
mited existence, to attain. In the prosecution of those ob- 
jects the People will lend us their strenuous co-operation. — 
Never was the popular feeling raised to a greater height — 
never did a nobler and more enthusiastic zeal exist among 
the People of Ireland. Whatever our antagonists may say, 
the same deep determination to seek the liberty of the coun- 
try, keeps its pulse in the nation's heart. From one extre- 
mity of Ireland to the other, the same pulsation beats with 



325 

a strong and regular throb. It is not a mere feverish and 
transitory excitation, but the uniform result of the great 
circulation of a vital principle, and it may be justly said, 

" Spiritus intus alit, totamque infusa per artus 

'•' Men? agitat molem, et magiio se corpore miseet." 



<2 F 



MR SHEIL'S 

SPEECH 

AT 

AN AGGREGATE MEETING, 

HELD IN 

KILKENNY. 



The Honble. PIERSE SOMERSET BUTLER having 
moved the following Resolution : — 

<c Resolved, That the exasperating exclusion of* seven 
millions of British subjects, from the rights and privileges 
of the Constitution, generates passions which arrest the pro- 
gress of national improvement, impede the education of the 
people, prevent the diffusion of British Capital, deteriorate 
the value of property and render its title insecure ; offer an 
allurement to the enemies of Great Britain, and endanger 
the stability of the Empire." 

Mr. SHEIL seconded the Resolution, and said, " Niphon 
is the largest of the islands of Japan ; Ximo is of inferior 
magnitude. If a traveller were to tell us, (the case is an 
imaginary one, but I shall be indulged in putting it,) that 
seven millions of the inhabitants of Ximo were deprived by 
the legislators of Niphon of the rights of citizens, because 
they believed in a religion more studded with mystery than 
the established creed of the larger island, if he told us that 
one-seventh of the population of Ximo, who professed the 
idolatry as by law established, enjoyed all the honors and 
emoluments of the state, — that their Bonzes possessed one 
million of acres — that they were supported with one- tenth 
of the produce of public labour— that their empty Pagodas 
were built at the expense of those who rejected their wor- 
ship—that the Japanese vestries excluded the infidel from all 
share in the ecclesiastical taxation — that deep and indignant 



327 



feelings were generated by this monopoly in the seven mil- 
lions of Ximoites — that the heir to the empire of Japan had 
declared an implacable hostility to these degraded millions: — 
If he were, besides, to tell us, that the cabinet of China, 
who were anxious to lower the pride of Japan had turned 
their eyes to Ximo, and had calculated upon their co-ope- 
ration in case a war should ensue — if he were to say, that 
notwithstanding the danger arising from the disaffection 
of the Ximoites, the legislators of Japan still obstinately 
persevered in their system of Government, for the sake 
of the fat and unwieldy Bonzes — if, Sir, a traveller 
were to tell us this, should we not say that the Govern- 
ment of Japan was exceedingly rash in offering out- 
rage to so large a portion of its subjects, and that it must 
be composed of fatuitous and narrow-minded men ? — 
Shall that system, then, be wise in Ireland, which in Ximo 
would be absurd ? And if an Englishman would smile at 
the prejudices of a Constitutionalist of Japan, might we not 
say — 

Mutato nomine, de te 

Fabula narratur ? 

The strange infatuation which presides over the Councils of 
England, will hereafter excite astonishment, and posterity 
will wonder at the obdurate perseverance with which the 
legislators of England continued so long to inflame the 
minds, and administer provocation to the passions of seven 
millions of men. But, Sir, it is a matter of congratulation, 
that the prejudices which have hitherto obstructed the 
progress of political truth, are rapidly diminishing. In 
England the Catholic Question has made great way, and the 
Protestants of Ireland begin to feel that they are embarked 
in the same cause as ourselves. I look round, and see 
almost the whole Protestant aristocracy of this county here. 
The High Sheriff is attended by the Grand Jury, What 
does this prove ? That the spirit of the Resolutions passed 
at Buckingham House is beginning to pervade the great 
mass of the Protestant community. The diffusion of this 
feeling is further evinced by the Protestant petition which 
is in course of signature amongst you, and to which the 
names of eight Peers are already attached. This wise and 
generous anxiety for the relief of their Roman Catholic 
brethren is not confined to this county. Among the lower 
orders of Protestants, it is true, that much bitterness of 
feeling still continues. They who have no other superiority 
2F 2 



328 



cling, with a natural tenacity, to the prerogatives of a Patri- 
cian creed — but the enlightened, the opulent, and the noble, 
who rest their ascendancy upon a better title, are weary of 
discord, and call for the pacification of Ireland. They are 
deeply sensible of the calamities produced by the disfran- 
chisement of a whole people, of which an epitome is 
expressed in the resolution which I have risen to second. — 
It condenses much political truth. The disqualification of 
seven millions of British citizens generates passions which 
arrest the progress of national improvement — prevent the 
co-operation of the several classes of the community in 
promoting the national good — interfere with the education 
of the people- — impede the circulation of British capital — » 
deteriorate the value of property, and render its title inse- 
cure — offer an allurement to the enemies of Great Britain — 
and endanger the security of the empire. Is not the 
progress of national improvement arrested by the dissensions 
which have been gendered by the Penal Code ? The whole 
mind of Ireland is absorbed by this fatal question. No 
ether topic attracts the popular attention. Arts, science, 
literature, are all merged in the disastrous interest attending 
this question. It enjoys a fatal monopoly of the public 
passions. This is, in itself, a great evil. Instead of co- 
operating for the purpose of improving the moral and phy- 
sical condition of the poor — instead of devising the means of 
diffusing better habits, and a sounder morality among them, 
we direct the whole energy of the country to the attainment 
of those civil rights, which must precede every scheme for 
the general melioration of Ireland. If Emancipation 
were passed, Catholic and Protestant intellect would be 
combined — we should unite together in a salutary co-opera- 
tion for the national good. But at present we are kept 
asunder by the law ; and differing on this great subject, by 
a necessary consequence we cannot agree on any other. — 
This political separation has greatly retarded the progress 
of education. The law raises the distinction of sect, and 
transfers it from religion to instruction. The spirit of party 
finds its way into the village school-room, and the fury of 
proselytism springs out of political discord. In the recent 
contests which attended the progress of Messrs. Noel and 
Gordon through Ireland, the effects of Catholic disqualifica- 
tion were conspicuous, I stood beside the former of those 
gentlemen, at the second meeting in Cork, and perceiving 
that he surveyed the great assembly before him with asto* 
nishment, and that he wondered at the vehemence of the 
passions which were displayed upon the question relating to 



329 

the intellectual improvement of the people, I ventured to 
suggest to him, that the emotions which he witnessed had a 
political origin, and that individuals, possessing an influence 
over the public mind, would not interfere in matters con- 
nected with religious disputation, if their political degrada- 
tion did not give an artificial intensity to their sectarian 
predilections. He assented to the view which I presented 
to him, and he afterwards, in a public meeting in England, 
had the manliness and candour to declare his conviction, 
that the Penal Code had produced all the ferment, by which 
his mission from the Bible Society had been accompanied. 
I do not mean to enter here into any consideration of the 
points which were then in dispute ; all that I mean to sug- 
gest is, that the political disfranchisement of the Catholics 
arrests the progress of public improvement, by arraying the 
two great bodies of the community into faction, and extend- 
ing their political animosities to topics which are not natu- 
rally connected with them. The Resolution which I have 
seconded proceeds to state, that the circulation of British 
capital is impeded by the dissensions of the country. This 
is notoriously true. Irish Securities fell with the hopes of 
Ireland, Capitalists who were prepared to advance enor- 
mous sums on mortgages of Irish estates, immediately 
receded from their contract. British speculation turned 
away from the country, when the dominion of discord was 
restored. Where is the Englishman mad enough to vest his 
capital in a country which stands upon the verge of con- 
vulsion? It is in this view of as much importance to Pro- 
testants as to Catholics, that Ireland should be pacified. — 
The Resolution states, that the value of property is deterio- 
rated by the dissensions of Ireland. Why should land in 
England sell at forty years' purchase, and in Ireland at less 
than twenty ? Because the title to property is inse- 
cure. This is the country of confiscation, and if a political 
commotion should take place, what man would stamp his foot 
upon an acre of ground and say, " this is mine/* It is better 
to speak at once the plain and honest truth. Mr. Canning 
has lately said, that the foes of Great Britain have fixed 
their hopes upon Ireland. Now, I ask this simple, but not 
seditious question : If twenty thousand Frenchmen should 
land upon our shores, what would be the result ? Would 
the population of Ireland unite with the invaders > If Pro- 
testants think that they would — if it be barely possible — if 
there be a risk of an event so terrible— if there are those 
who believe that in a week one hundred thousand men 
would start to arms — is it not actual frenzy to keep the na* 
2F3 



330 



tional mind in such a state of frightful susceptibility, and 
to nurture the passions which may give birth to such a tre- 
mendous result ? " Lead us not into temptation/' is the 
daily prayer which I would address to the Minister, and call 
upon him, with a vehement reiteration to deliver us from this 
appalling evil. I doubt not that England might succeed in 
crushing the foreign invader and the intestine foe ; but, as 
defeat would be terrible, victory would be scarcely less aw- 
ful ; the chariot of conquest should roll over heaps of mas- 
sacre, and when tranquillity was restored, it would be soli- 
tude indeed. These events may not take place until the 
present generation shall have passed away. But is not that 
a mean and selfish consolation ? Do not nature and the 
heart of man revolt against it ? May not the graves in 
which we shall lie low, be soaked with our children's blood, 
and the knife of murder, and the grasp of dishonour, be laid 
on those to whom we have given that life which should be 
incalculably more precious than our own? Mothers of Ire- 
land, hear this admonition, and clasp your children to 
your hearts. I feel that I am speaking in bold and impas- 
sioned language, but that language from being impassioned 
is not the less true. There is a risk — no one can question it 
— there must be, then, some sound reason for continuing to 
incur it. The enemies of emancipation, they who wish to 
incur this dreadful chance, reply — the Church must be sup- 
ported. Suppose that the Church were placed in jeopardy, 
(and I make the hypothesis for the sake of argument) I put 
the matter thus : throw the mitres of thirty Bishops into 
one side of the scale, and in the other the liberties of seven 
millions of people, and which would preponderate ? Is it 
for the sake of the Church that Ireland is to remain dis- 
tracted, ferocious, poor, ignorant, and oppressed? Is all 
this weight of national misery to be sustained, in order that 
some high priest may continue to burlesque the apostles — 
that some ecclesiastic Parvenu may continue to insult the 
people with his contumelious epigrams — that he may shoot 
his poisoned antithesis from behind the altar, through the 
golden vestment of Rome, and the simple surplice of Geneva, 
and set off a religion without a church, against a church 
without a religion ?— is it that he may rebuke the Peers of 
England, as well as insult the Catholics of Ireland, and 
that dressed in a u brief authority," and a purple surtout, 
he may continue to perform his sacerdotal antics, and " make 
the angels weep,"— or is it that we may behold the u Castle 
of Indolence " turned into truth, and the voluptuous fancy 
of the poet embodied in a living exemplification of 



331 



• — " A man of God 

Who has a roguish twinkle in his eye — 
If a tight lassie chance to trippen by, 
And shines all over with ungodly dew, 
Which, when observed, he sinks into his mew, 
And straght 'gins recollect his piety anew ?" 

Inhabitants of Ossory, is it for these glorious purposes that 
the system is to be persevered in, w T hich is fraught with so 
much frightful mischief and teems with public woe? I do not 
mean to quarrel with the wealth of the Church. It is enor- 
mous. It is a bloated and dropsical mass ; but it is to the 
votaries of Wesley, and not of St. Peter, that the opera- 
tion of tapping is reserved. Whatever aversion I have to 
the church arises from its being raised as an obstacle to the 
liberties of my country. The Attorney General has justly 
remarked, that, instead of endangering the stability of the 
established religion, and of the gorgeous institutions by 
which it is attended, Roman Catholic Emancipation would 
contribute materially to its permanence. It is because it is 
now opposed as a barrier to concession that we regard it with 
hostility ; but if once it ceased to operate as' an obstruction, 
we should, in all likelihood, submit in apathetic acquiescence 
to its abuses; we should look upon it as a state engine, and if 
it ceased to crush us, we should not desire to interfere with its 
operations, or to diminish the power of the vast machine. We 
should not be arrayed by individual interest against its in- 
fluence, and whatever might be our abstract opinion respect- 
ing its general expediency, we should not regard it as we are 
now forced to do, as a means of personal wrong. I doubt 
not, indeed, that if the Catholic question were settled, indi- 
viduals of our own body might be found who w T ould be dis- 
posed to support, as an instrument of political influence, what 
they are now instigated by their sense of personal suffering 
to condemn. But, Sir, I am deviating from the course that 
the resolution which I have seconded should suggest to me. 
Let me conclude, by stating to you with some abruptness, 
what, upon another occasion, I shall take an opportunity to 
enforce. Three great measures have, of late, been pro- 
posed, as expedients by which Emancipation may be 
advanced. The first is, a census of the Catholic people — 
the second, a meeting for fourteen successive days, in Dub- 
lin, of the Prelacy, the chief Clergy, the Aristocracy, the 
Merchants, and the professional members of our body — the 
third, and most important, is, the simultaneous assembly of 
the Irish people upon the same day, in their respective 



332 



parishes, to petition for redress. We shall require the 
co-operation of the Clergy, in order to achieve these great 
ends. I have heard it said that they should not meddle in 
politics. Why ? Do not the Parsons meddle in politics ? 
Do not the Parsons excite the religious prejudices of the 
English people ? Does not Bloomfield meddle in politics ? 
He was once our friend, until , finding that his head was not 
like Yorick's, and that a mitre might fit upon it— feeling 
the organ of episcopativeness in distinct and holy promi- 
nence, he betook himself to a more profitable course than the 
study of Greek tragedy, and set up as an orator against the 
Irish people. But let him pass — are not the Parsons the 
most furious opponents of our cause ? And, if they are, 
why should not the Priests prove themselves its most stre- 
nuous advocates ? Upon them rest our best hopes ; they 
will not make an Iscariot sale of the liberties of their 
country to the Pharisees of the Cabinet. They are unpur- 
chased and unpurchaseable. Satisfied with the voluntary 
contributions of their flocks, they are contented with their 
primitive poverty, and from the moral elevation on which 
they are placed, look down with a lofty indifference upon 
the luxurious opulence of the Established priesthood. They 
will not abuse the legitimate influence which they possess, 
and assign it to the rulers of the land. They will not con- 
vert the Temple of God into a prophane and sordid mart. 
The blood of Christ shall not " drop for them in drachmas ' 
— they will not make money of the mysteries of religion — 
convert eternal truth into a traffic — make the cross a ladder 
of ambition, and dig in Mount Calvary for gold. 



MR. SHEIL'S 

SPEECH 

IN MOVING A 

SERIES OF RESOLUTIONS 

RESPECTING THE 

PROSECUTION OF MR. O CONNELL 

BY MR. PLUNKETT. 



Mr. SHEIL said — The prosecution of Mr. O'Connell, and 
the issue of the legal enterprise, in which the provincial 
Government of Ireland had so fantastically adventured, call 
for an intimation of our sentiments. I rise to propose the 
first of a series of resolutions, which I have drawn up with 
a view to suggest the feelings of the Irish people, rather 
than give them their full expression. I move the following 
resolution : — 

<c Resolved — That the prosecution of Mr. O'Connell has 
excited the amazement of the English public, and is calcu- 
lated to excite a stronger feeling than one of mere astonish- 
ment in the people of Ireland." 

Yes, Sir, England was amazed, and Ireland was more 
than astonished. If there is ground to congratulate Mr. 
O'Connell upon his victory, there is ground to congratulate 
Mr. Plunkett upon his defeat. His success would have 
been disastrous to his country and to himself. The blood of 
every honest man would have boiled in his veins at the suc- 
cess of this deplorable experiment. As it is, a feeling of 
regret is intermingled with the sentiment of displeasure. 
We lament that Mr. Plunkett should have given an election 
to his enemies, to make either a martyr of Mr. O'Connell, 
or a victim of himself. We survey this abortive proceeding 
with all its train of miserable result, cc more in sorrow than 
in anger." We do not forget the ties of political cordiality 
which united Mr. Plunkett to the Roman Catholic body. 
We feel as if we had snatched a poiniard from the grasp of 
an antagonist, and beholding in his face the lineaments of 



334 



an early friend, instead of turning back the dagger upon his 
bosom, exclaim, in the accents of mingled reproach and 
sorrow, " Is it thus that you requite us ?" God forbid that 
we should indulge in the language of contumelious triumph 
at the failure of a measure which carries with it its own 
retribution. The weapon which was pointed at our very 
existence with so deadly a level, has burst in Mr, Plunkett's 
hands — I hope it has not shattered them. It is enough for 
us that he has missed his aim — we cannot fail to recollect 
that there is in the detestation of our inveterate opponents, 
(we must not suffer ourselves to be deluded by them,) a 
kind of redeeming virtue; and instead of co-operating in their 
designs, we shouldabstain from the manifestation of any indig- 
nant feeling, and all indulgence in any ungenerous vaunt. — 
For the sake of the country, and for the sake of the distin- 
guished individual who is identified with its interests, and 
holds so high and permanent a place in its regards, we 
rejoice at the failure of the preposterous prosecution. But 
we are not drunk with an absurd and delirious joy. In 
these political Saturnalia, we do not forget the ignominy of 
our condition. We remember that there is no substantial 
ground of exultation. It is but an ephemeral and transitory 
advantage. We are still the underlings of Orange domina- 
tion. Our penalties and disqualifications are still upon us ; 
and in lifting up our arms we feel the heaviness of the fetters 
which we cannot long sustain in the attitude of triumph. 
They draw us down again, and weigh us to the earth. But 
we owe it, at the same time, to sound principle, and to the 
abstract dignity of truth, to record our condemnation of this 
marvellous proceeding. Gracious God ! what motive could 
have prompted an undertaking so extravagant ? When Mr. 
Plunkett read the words attributed to Mr. O'Connell, did he 
ask himself " what provocation is given to this man ? — who 
is he? — and what am I?" Did he say to himself, "who 
am I?" Did he say, "who is William Conyngham Plun- 
kett ?" I know not whether he administered that personal 
interrogatory to himself ; but this I know, that if he did, 
this should have been the answer — " I raised myself from a 
comparatively humble station, by the power of my own 
talents, to the first eminence in the State. In my profession 
I am without an equal — in Parliament I once had no supe- 
rior — I have obtained great wealth, great fame, great dig- 
nity, and great patronage. When I was out of office 1 
kindled the popular passions — I enlisted them on my side — 
I was fierce, virulent, and vituperative. The Minister 
turned pale before me. At last I have won the object of 



335 



my life. I am Attorney- General for Ireland — if I had been 
a Catholic, instead of an enfranchised Presbyterian, what 
would have been my fortunes ?" I can tell him : — he would 
have pined under the sense of degradation. — He would have 
felt like a man with huge limbs where he could not stand 
erect — he would have felt his faculties c ' cribbed and cabined 
in," and how would he have endured his humiliation? — look 
at him and say ! How would that lofty forehead have 
borne the brand of Popery ? How would that high demean- 
our have borne the stoop of the slave ? Would he have 
been tame, and abject, and servile, and sycophantic? No; 
he would have been the chief demagogue— the most angry, 
tumultuous, and violent tribune of the people — he would 
have superadded the honest gall of his own nature to the 
bitterness of political resentment — he would have given 
utterance to ardent feelings in burning words ; and in all 
the foam of passion he would have gnawed the chain from 
which he could not break. And is this the man who prose- 
cutes for words ? If their condition were reversed — if 
Mr. O'Connell were Attorney- General, and Mr. Plunkett 
were the great leader of the people — if " Antony were 
Brutus, and Brutus Antony/' how would the public 
mind have been inflamed ! What exciting matter would 
have been flung amongst the people ! What lava would 
have been poured out ! a The very stones would rise and 
mutiny." Would to Heaven that not only Mr. Plunkett, 
but every other Protestant who deplores our imprudence, in 
the spirit of fastidious patronage, would adopt the simple 
test of nature, and make our case his own, and he would 
confess, that if similarly situated, he would give vent to his 
emotions in phrases as exasperated, and participate in the 
feelings which agitate the great and disfranchised commu- 
nity, to which it would be his misfortune to belong. There 
is no man of ordinary candour, who will not rather intimate 
his wonder at the moderation, than his surprise at the 
imputed violence of Mr. O'Connell ; with fortune, rank, and 
abilities of the first class — enjoying pre-eminence in his 
profession, and the confidence of his country, he is shut 
out from honors accessible to persons whom nature intended 
to place infinitely behind, and whom their religion has 
advanced before him. If he were to adopt, or if his coun- 
try, at his suggestion, were to assume the language which 
is prescribed to us, the people of England would not believe 
that we laboured under any substantial grievances. " I do 
not believe you," (said a celebrated advocate of antiquity, 
%o a citizen, who stated to him a case of enormous wrong)— 



336 



*< I do not believe you " not believe me," c { No!" % What ! 
u Not believe me ! — I tell you, that my antagonist met me 
in the public way — seized me by the throat — flung me to 
the earth, and " — " Hold, exclaimed Demosthenes — " your 
eye is on fire — your lip begins to quiver — your cheek is 
flushed with passion — your hand is clenched, I believe 
you ; — nowwhen you first addressed me'you were too calm — 
too cold— ^too measured ; but now you speak, you look like 
one who had sustained a wrong !" And are we to speak, 
and act like men who had sustained no wrong ! We ! Six 

millions of what shall I say ? Citizens ! No ! but of men 

who have been flagitiously spoliated of the rights and 
privileges of British subjects — who are cast into utter 
degradation and covered with disgrace and shame — upon 
whom scorn is vented and contumely discharged : we, 
who are the victims of Legislative plunder — who have been 
robbed, with worse than Punic perfidy, of privileges which 
our ancestors had purchased at Limerick with their blood — 
which were secured by the faith of treaties, and consecrated 
with all the solemnities of a great national compact — shall 
we speak like men who had sustained no wrongs ? — We are 
upon our knees, but even in kneeling an attitude of dignity 
should be maintained. Shall we ask for the right of free- 
men in the language of slaves ? May common sense — com- 
mon feeling — common honor — may every generous princi- 
ple implanted in our nature — may that God, (1 do not take 
his name in vain) may that power that endowed us with high 
aspirations, and filled the soul of man with honourable emo- 
tion — who made the love of freedom an instinctive wish and 
unconquerable appetite — may the great Author of our being 
— the Creator of the human heart — may God forbid it. 



MR. SHEIL'S 

SPEECH 

OST THE INCREASE OF POWER 

IN THE 

CATHOLICS of IRELAND. 



Mr. SHEIL — The Bible, with every man's comment, is 
now the fashion. I shall give you a text, with my own 
comment : " The Philistines took Sampson, and put out his 
eyes, and bound him with fetters of brass, and he did grind 
in the prison. Howbeit, the hair of Sampson began to grow 
after he was shaven/' They put out the eyes of Ireland ; 
they made education illicit, and declared knowledge to be 
contraband. They knew that slavery and ignorance were 
companions — they quenched the intellectual vision of the 
people — they bound them in penalties that cut into the mind, 
and corroded the heart — they set them to grind in the pri- 
son — they declared them to be incapable of all honourable 
occupation — they fixed a brand upon their labour, and to 
their industry they attached disgrace ; and yet, in despite 
of all this, notwithstanding the detestable ingenuity of this 
infernal process, for the debasement and demoralization of 
man, the innate power of the country defeated this abo- 
minable scheme. Its original and native energy w r ere insen- 
sibly restored ; war, and massacre, and slavery, and exile, 
could not stop the progress of population. The law of nature 
was stronger than the law of the land. Shorn, as Ireland 
was, of her strength, she imperceptibly regained her gigan- 
tic vigour — " The hair of Sampson began to grow upon hi^ 
head." What, then, is to be done with Sampson ? But I 
do the country wrong. Unlike the strong man, Ireland has 
recovered her sight, w T ith the renovation of her strength. 
Let me drop the illustration, and appeal, not to metaphors, 
but to facts. The population of Ireland was reduced at one 
period to eight hundred thousand inhabitants. The Penal 
2 G 



338 



Code was passed-it tended to multiply them, and not to dimi- 
nish the indigenous/eligion. The population swelled to three 
millions — the Volunteers arose ; that which Primate Boulter 
pronounced to be the death of English influence was about 
to be effected — her junction of the Catholic and Protestant , 
and the merging of religion into nationality. The Govern- 
ment flung the Catholic question into the Irish convention. 
Division v/as produced — the Protestant became alarmed, and 
the Catholic discontented. " Give us our liberty " exclaimed 
the Catholic — " preserve our ascendancy," exclaimed the 
Protestant. The Government struck upon a middle course, 
and by so doing, the seeds of dissension were deposited. 
The Catholic purchased the soil which he had scarcely dar- 
ed to tread : he acquired power with the Elective Fran- 
chise ; a career was thrown open to the intellect of the coun- 
try in the professions ; Popery became rich, influential, ac- 
tive, restless, intelligent, and aspiring. The three millions 
rose to six. We are six millions of British subjects. States- 
men of England, what is to be done with us ? What is to 
be done with six millions of men ? You must re-enact the 
Penal Code, or make us wholly free ; you must strip the 
lawyer of his gown, the merchant of his stock, the propri- 
etor of his estate. The bill of discovery must be revived ; 
filial ingratitude must again be turned into a virtue, and a 
bounty must be set upon parricide. This might not be hu- 
mane, but it would be consistent. It would be more rea- 
sonable, at all events, than the perpetuation of a system, 
which is at once exasperating and absurd. It is not only ab- 
surd but dangerous. It is more than dangerous— it carries 
the seeds of destruction and the elements of ruin. England 
is now at the highest point of prosperity — she reposes in 
opulence from the fatigues and the exhaustion of a long 
and sanguinary war. She has, if I may say so, washed 
the blood and dust from her brow, and bathes herself 
in the warm and refreshing stream of a vast and superabun- 
dant commerce. The treasures of South America are pour- 
ed into her lap; the sun does not set upon her dominions ; 
The fabric of her power is magnificent and immense ; but is 
its foundation in measure with its height ? Is it built upon 
ait immutable basis ? Is it placed peyond the power of all 
political contingency, and can it bid defiance to calculable 
events ? The King of Babylon beheld the type of a great 
empire in an image with a golden head, and with feet of 
iron and of clay. It was shattered by a pebble. It was 
emblematic of a dominion which rested on frailty and oppre- 



339 



sion. The amazing wealth of England is illustrated by 
the symbol that surmounted the visionary form, and in the 
government of this unhappy, but important province, there 
is a combination of meanness and injustice, which is not 
unaptly exemplified by the hard and vile materials of which 
the feet of the prophetic statue were composed. It requires 
but little of the spirit of prophecy to foresee the hazard to 
which that dominion must be exposed, which, however glo- 
rious, rests upon a system at variance with the interests and 
with the rights of the great body of the people, which is at 
once paltry and grinding, despicable and cruel, and to recur 
to the Scriptural illustration, is made of iron and of clay. 
Such a system may be subverted by an accident ; a stone 
may shatter it : literally speaking, it may fall in the shifting 
of the wind. Let France declare war ; let the English 

fleet be blown out of the Channel : let But I see in 

the faces of many around me an expression of alarm ; you 
think I tread upon dangerous ground : " Beware," you 
.seem to say, " you are upon the verge of sedition — the ear 
of Dyonisius is always open I do not dread it ; I am fear- 
less in the integrity of my own purpose ; and, knowing 
myself, not only from every principle of duty, but from 
every motive of interest, to be strenuously anxious for the 
pacification of my country ; being little prone to political 
romance, never having indulged in the day-dream of Irish 
independence ; attached, from deep conviction of its neces- 
sity, and, I will add; of its ultimate utility to the con- 
nexion with England ; desiring to see my country substan- 
tially blended and consolidated with the great mass of the 
Empire ; united not merely by Acts of Parliament, but by 
a reciprocity of kindness and a mutuality of interests, I am 
careless of any imputation that may be flung upon my mo- 
tives, either by open enemies, or by those luke-warm friends, 
whom we should begin to vomit. I will give utterance 
to the language which is dictated by my feelings, and to 
which my judgment gives its sanction. There are six mil- 
lions of Roman Catholics in Ireland. A vast proportion of 
that immense body are alineated by the law. It is impossi- 
ble that discontent — that disaffection should not exist. The 
better classes of Roman Catholics — they who have acquired, 
or who hope to acquire wealth — the members of profes- 
sions, the opulent merchants, the extensive agriculturist^ 
set off their interests against their feelings ; and while they 
abhor the Penai Code (as which of us does not r) they have 
a still greater dread of a convulsion in which life and pro- 
perty would not only be endangered, but swept away. But 
2 G 2 



340 



there is in this country an immense mass of population, who 
have uniformly acted under the influence of passion, more 
than of reason ; men who have injuries to avenge, and no- 
thing but death, with which they are familiar, to appre- 
hend ; spirits untamed by the enjoyments of life — bound to 
it by no tie — cheered by no solace — having nothing but the 
animal instinct to attach them to existence, which their ha- 
bits are calculated to surmount — men who mount the scaf- 
fold with a laugh, and leap from it with a bound. That 
vast body of fierce, and fearless, and desperate peasantry, 
would be easily allured into a junction with an invader, and 
whatever might be the ultimate event, the immediate conse- 
quences must make every good man tremble. It is the 
fashion in the orgies of Orangemen to boast of the power of 
the Irish Protestants, and to vaunt that they would alone re- 
pel any attempt upon our shores. An accident or rather 
a merciful dispensation of Providence, prevented the great 
body of the French forces from landing at Killala. But 
mark what was accomplished by only a handful of men !— 
Twelve hundred Frenchmen marched into the heart of the 
country and defeated six thousand of the British troops. I 
admit that those troops were very different from the veterans 
of the Peninsula — they were, like the present Irish Govern- 
ment, formidable only to their friends. But they were as 
good as the Orangemen could muster, and they were dis- 
comfited almost by a band of boys. There were many diffi- 
culties in the way of the French Directory at that period. 
There was no sympathy in religion, and the people were not 
prepared for their reception. But in fifteen or twenty years 
hence, if the system of alienation should continue, how 
different will be the condition of the national mind ? The 
Bourbon family are aware of that mistake which Bonaparte 
committed and regretted. They turn their eyes towards 
Ireland — a community of religious feeling may be easily 
cultivated. A long peace affords opportunities of intercourse, 
and if, after a mature and deliberate preparation of the pub- 
lic sentiment, the united fleets of France and America were 
to appear, with twenty thousand men, and one hundred 
thousand stand of arms, off our coast, what would be the 
result ? " We should beat them still/' exclaims an Eng- 
lishman, laying his hand with honest pride upon his 
sword. I trust that the national vaunt would be verified 
by the event ! Miserable as the condition is to which we 
are reduced, it is better than the connexion of Ireland 
with a Foreign Power. I had rather see the streets patrol ed 
by Scotch Highlanders than French Dragoons. There is 



341 



not a man in this assembly who would not wish that such 
an enterprise should fail ; and that it would fail I firmly be- 
lieve. The patriotic aspiration of the Duke of Wellington, 
that his country should be re-conquered, would be realised. 
But I ask, in the name of common humanity, and those in- 
stincts of universal nature, which even religious antipathies 
are not able wholly to subdue — I ask of the most inveterate 
of the faction who are leagued against the peace, as well as 
the freedom of Ireland, whether any thing could compen- 
sate for the deluge of blood with which even victory must 
be bought ? The events of which I speak, (and may the 
timely wisdom of England, and the God of Heaven avert 
them) may not happen, and in all likelihood will not hap- 
pen while we live. We shall all be gathered in the dust, 
blended in the great and lasting reconciliation of the grave. 
But shall a legislator — a British statesman — a trustee of the 
interests and happiness of his fellow-men, presume to say, 
that provided he can crawl in office to the tomb, he is in- 
different about futurity. Eldon, perhaps, may say so. Let 
him, in his agony, clutch his money bags in one hand, and 
the seals in the other, and he dies contented. But can any 
man, with the least pretensions to elevation of character or 
generosity of feeling, contemplate the frightful probabili- 
ties to which I have adverted, without a shudder ? It 
is not to the philantrophist alone that we should point out 
this disastrous prospect. It is to the meaner advocates of 
ascendancy, that we should address ourselves. I do not 
appeal to any dignified or exalted sentiment. They cling to 
the bad pre-eminence which they derive from their religion. 
These birds of prey croak and flutter in angry tumult at the 
least disturbance of those foul nests which they have built 
upon the ruins of their country. But dead as they may be 
to every other sentiment, I would appeal to their self-love 
and throw their personal interests into the scale, A man 
contemplates the perpetuation of his own existence in his 
child ; they have children, and yet, strange to say, while 
they manifest the utmost solicitude in the indulgence of their 
paternal sensibilities for the future welfare of their offspring, 
they entirely forget how much it must depend upon the 
permanent tranquilization of their country. A great Pro- 
testant proprietor sits down to draw his will — he surveys 
from the window of his magnificent residence, the expanse 
of confiscated woods and lawns with which the courageous 
piety of the Cromwellian forefather was rewarded. He de- 
vises his estate in strict settlement, and by a variety of com- 
2 G 3 



342 



plicated limitations, endeavours to escape from the laws 
against perpetuity, and would give, if he could, a feudal per- 
manence to his estate, and render it unalienable. He embra- 
ces a century in the extent of his testamentary anticipations 
If, at such a moment, a warning like theprophecy of LochieL 
were to be breathed upon him if he were to be told that 
the time should come when his mansion should be given to 
the flames— when the shouts of murder and the shrieks of 
dishonor should ring through his halls — when his sons should 
be slaughtered upon his threshold, and his daughters should 

scream for help upon their father's grave But, I advance 

too far into "the field of the dead." I must pause in this 
dreadful picture, and yet I cannot avoid calling upon every 
man with a touch of the parental instincts in his heart, to 
awaken to the appalling likelihood of a convulsion, of which 
his children may be the victims. They will insure their 
lives for the benefit of their children ; they will not insure 
the peace of their country. They will insure their dwellings 
against fire, and they will not insure the great fabric of the 
State against conflagration. — Nay, they pile combustible 
matter within it, and seem almost to prepare it for an 
explosion. It is not to Protestants alone that I ad- 
dress myself. There is not a man that hears me whose off* 
spring may not be immolated to this frightful infatuation. 
If ever these terrible events should arise, every class of so- 
ciety will be swept and sucked into the bloody vortex. — . 
There is not a parent in the land — there is not a father or 
a mother who does not bear a painful participation in those 
disastrous likelihoods. The cry of discord should sound 
like Alecto's trumpet ; it should give a start to every mo- 
ther, and make her clasp her children to her breast. I 
would to heaven the women of Ireland would feel the fright- 
ful possibilities of which I have given a sketch so imper- 
fect, and, like the wives and mothers of antiquity, throw 
themselves between us, and holding up their children, im- 
plore us to forbear. And how easily, with what facility, 
and by an expedient how prompt, how obvious and simple, 
might our unhappy animosities be subdued for ever ! How 
rapidly a great national reconciliation would take place ! 
How soon the waters of bitterness would cease to run, if 
the fountain were sealed up ! How easily our minds would 
mingle and coalesce together, if the law did not stand be- 
tween us ; how zealously should we all co-operate for the 
purposes of national good ! Instead of waging battles about 
heaven/ we should exemplify its precepts by good will upon 



34:3 



?arth ; in place of engaging in the frenzy of polemics., 
M e should enter into an universal alliance for the education 
of the people. A wholesome communication between the 
higher and the lower classes of society would take place ; 
the channels of a salutary intercourse would be opened — an 
easy and unimpeded circulation of good feelings and of 
good principles would arise — English capital and English 
minds and habits would be diffused amongst us ; and in a 
little time we should look back with shame and with asto- 
nishment at the rancorous feuds by which we had been di- 
vided. 



MR. SHEIL'S 



SPEECH 



AT 



THE ROSS SESSIONS, 



IN THE 



ECCLESIASTICAL COURT. 



ROSS SESSIONS— COUNTY WEXFORD. 

A SERIES of interesting cases, connected with the Church 
system, came on to be tried at the Ross Sessions on 
the 20th October, 1827. The Rev. Mr. Morgan had ob- 
tained monitions in the Ecclesiastical Court of the Diocese 
of Ferns, against several of the Parishioners, whom, under 
the 7th George III. he sued by Civil Bill at the Sessions. 
Mr. Sheil attended on behalf of the defendants. 

Mr. SHEIL said — I am Counsel in a case, or rather a 
series of cases, in which the Rev. J. Morgan, Rector of this 
I arish, is the plaintiff, and several of his parishioners are 
defendants. I do not exaggerate when I say, that although 
this tribunal bean inferior one, yet, as it is the only medium 
through which justice can be dispensed to the lower orders 
its proceedings, in a matter where the claims of the Church 
are brought into collision with the interests and feelings of 
the people, the facts which I am about to state, and the de- 
cision of this Court upon them, will attract universal no- 
tice. I am about to state facts which will illustrate the svs- 



345 



tern upon -which Ecclesiastical and Sacerdotal claims are ad- 
judicated in this country. You, Mr. Chairman, -w ould, I 
am sure, in the spirit of that honorable impartiality by which 
you are characterised, listen, under any circumstances, to 
any defence which my poor and humble clients could make. 
You would feel how important it is, that the lower orders 
should think that they will be, at all events, heard in our 
public tribunals; and you will feel that it is still more im- 
portant that they should be heard under the very peculiar, 
and I do not hesitate to add, the very disgraceful circum- 
stances in which this case comes before you from the Eccle- 
siastical Court. In that Court (where the rights of the 
Church are decided by the Church itself) my clients were 
not heard. The Surrogate refused to hear a single word in 
their defence. Mr. Richard Moore was brought, at a con- 
siderable expence, to defend my clients in the Diocesan 
Court of Ferns, in which Dr. Elrington, in the person of 
the Rev. Mr. Newland, is, with a felicitous fidelity, so ap- 
propriately represented. Mr. Moore got up to state the case 
of the defendants, when the Surrogate started from his seat 
and told him, that because he was not a Doctor of Laws, 
lie would not allow him to open his lips. The statute which 
gave him jurisdiction, enacts that all forms of law shall be 
dispensed with — it provides, " that the petition of the par- 
son may be exhibited without the subscription of an advo- 
cate or proctor — that the parties may appear without any 
proctor, if they think proper to do so and uses the fol- 
lowing words : " And the respective Judges and Registers 
are hereby required to receive such appearances, and to 
receive such proofs as shall be offered, and finally, to 
hear and determine such causes in the most summary 
manner, without any regard to the formality of proceed- 
ing, and regarding only the justice of the case," With the 
words of the statute before him, yet because Mr. Richard 
Moore was not a Doctor of Law, the Rev. Mr. Newland 
turned him out of Court. Mr. Richard Moore vainly 
urged, that he had been heard without objection in the 
Archiepiscopal Court of Cashel. He implored the Surro- 
gate to hear what could be said in defence of his clients — 
but Mr. Newland, with an authoritative flippancy, peremp- 
torily declared his determination not to hear him. I have, 
myself, pleaded before Doctor Radcliff, in the Prerogative 
Court, and no objection was taken to my want of a Doctor's 
degree ; and yet a King's Counsel (and let me add, a gen- 
tleman who well deserves the honour recently conferred 
upon him,) was told by the juvenile Surrogate of a petty 



346 



ecclesiastical tribunal, that he did not possess the qualifica- 
tions which entitled him to address one Parson, where the 
interests of another Parson were concerned. Is not this 
monstrous ? I state a fact which took place in an open 
Court, which Mr. Moore himself will be ready to vouch 
for, and of which I challenge the contradiction. But the 
doings of the Rev. Mr. Newland did not stop here. One 
of the defendants, an old and paralytic man of the name of 
Cloney, being deprived of his counsel, got up to make his 
own defence ; his son, who sat beside the old man, endea- 
voured to assist him, when the Rev. Surrogate solemnly de- 
clared he would commit him to gaol if he attempted to in- 
terpose. The judicial Parson then proceeded to declare, 
that no matter what evidence could be adduced before him, 
yet if it appeared that any of the defendants had sub- 
scribed to oppose the proceedings of Mr. Morgan, he 
would grant a decree against them. There is a further 
fact deserving of mention, Although the statute enacts, 
" that it shall not be lawful for such Judges or Regis- 
ters, to exact or receive any fees whatsoever from either 
of the parties, in such suits or praedial tithes," yet he re- 
fused to receive the evidence of a single witness until four 
pence a head had been paid to the crier for every witness 
whom the defendants should produce. What will be said 
of the manner in which justice is administered by the sa- 
cerdotal judges of the country after this ? Of all other 
taxes, tithes are naturally the most odious to the people ; 
they necessarily pay turnpike for Protestants, on the road to 
Heaven, with reluctance ; they cannot but abhor that sys- 
tem, which tears from them the fruits of their industry, in 
order to gorge and pamper the sinecurists of the Establish- 
ed Church. Such a tax should, therefore, be levied witli 
decency, if not with justice; and when one priest drags an 
unfortunate peasant before another, and calls upon his bro- 
ther in Christ to adjudicate in a case which is substantially 
the judge's own, the latter ought, at all events, endeavour 
to preserve something like the semblance of fairness and 
decorum, and should not leave the tiller of the earth to ex- 
claim, <c I was not only wronged, but I was not even 
heard/' How can any man wonder, with facts like these 
before him, that the lower orders are dissatisfied with the 
administration of justice ? How can any man feel astonish- 
ment that the miserable peasantry of Ireland, despairing to 
meet with redress in a public tribunal, obey the desperate 
instincts of nature, and rush into the wild insanity of re- 
venge ? But I break in upon the order of statement which 



347 



[ intended to pursue. Before describing the conduct of the 
Scclesiastical Judge, it is right that you should be apprised 
)f the merits of the Ecclesiastical Litigant, in what he calls 
l " Court Christian/' but which nobody but a Churchman 
aril call a Christian Court. It is, however, quite right that 
^ou should be apprised of the manner iu which the Defen- 
lants were treated in the Spiritual Tribunal, in order that 
rou may not make such a sentence, obtained under such 
circumstances, conclusive upon the defendants. I return to 
he Rev. Mr. Morgan — he has been a beneficed Clergyman 
or upwards of forty-three years, during which he has re- 
ceived, for the cure of souls, upwards of <£49>000., which 
rill stand to his debit in the account he shall have to pass 
jefore heaven. In the year 1810, he became Rector of this 
parish. His predecessor in Ross, was the Rev. Mr. Dunne, 
i man in whose praise it is almost impossible to speak with 
exaggeration. Notwithstanding the spirit of animosity which 
sways the contending parties of this country, Mr, Dunne 
was beloved by all those by whom be was approached. He 
could scarcely be said to belong to any sect, as the abstract 

Epirit of Christianity pervaded his whole life. His heart was 
aised to Heaven, as well as the hand which he lifted to in- 
oke it ; and, while he iC allured to brighter worlds," it may 
□e added, with perfect truth, that %< he led the way." I 
Peel that I am speaking of him in language, which to those 
who did not know him, may appear to be overwrought ; 
3Ut they who did know him — they who heard and saw him 
^for it was requisite to see, as well as to hear him,) those 
who beheld that fine countenance, cast in so noble a mould, 
that it looked as if one of Guido's saints had been taken by 
nature for a model. They who heard that voice, whose ac- 
cents were pregnant with the emotions of a pure and a be- 
nevolent heart ; and, above all, they who beheld him ex- 
ercise the functions of a Christian Clergyman, and saw him 
bearing into the habitations of the unfortunate and afflicted, 
:: faith and hope " along with him, while he was himself a 
personification of " charity," in her finest form. They, in 
me word, who knew him, will feel that this panegyric, 
strong as it is, is not undeserved. I have told you what he 
nraa ; I shall now tell you what Mr. Dunne was not. He 
>vas not a heartless and unblushing extortioner, whose spirit 
)f unprincipled exaction exhibited a hideous contrast between 
:he lessons of poverty and self-denial, whicli he delivered 
Tom the pulpit, and their practical exemplification in his 
)wn remorseless rapacity. He was not a consecrated pi- 
*ate; he was not a holy plunderer ; an anointed bandit. — 



348 



He did not avail himself of every pretence afforded him by 
the law, or rather by the perversion of all law, and the 
violation of all justice, to swell his stipend as a Christian 
teacher, beyond all former limit and proportion, He was 
not consumed by the vile thirst, or I should rather call it, in 
a literal and appropriate translation of the original epithet, the 
the sacred famine for gold. Neither did any disgraceful 
strife take place between him and his parishioners ; it was 
not found necessary to remonstrate against any of his 
demands on the people ; he never gained a flagitious noto- 
riety by the extent, variety, and continuity of his exactions; 
he never figured in the Ecclesiastical Courts, nor hauled his 
parishioners before a tribunal, where Justice herself is in 
" orders," and being attired in a surplice, feels a professional 
sympathy for every member of the sacerdotal corporation- 
he never brought any conceited and pragmatical Surrogate 
to his assistance, for the enforcement of his obsolete and 
long-dormant claims. I have told you what Dunne was 
not ; it is not necessary that I should tell you what Mr. 
Morgan is. I forbear from instituting any comparison 
between the two Rev. Gentlemen, for their parishioners are 
the best judges of any affinity between them, and it is no 
part of my duty to point out the features of resemblance. — 
Mr. Morgan, the Rev. Incumbent of this Parish, was named 
to it, as I have said, in 1810, and he immediately observed 
that Mr. Dunne had been a very negligent shepherd, as he 
had omitted the " shearing n of his flock ; and seeing many 
a fat wether with a golden fleece, he forthwith set about 
sharpening his theological shears ; and such is his talent for 
this line of his pastoral occupations, that to the " shearing " 
part of the business he has since exclusively attended. 
There never was a greater adept at fleecing at the great 
shearing-court at Ferns. He raised his tithes in an instant 
from £ 1,100 to £2,600 a-year. It may, perhaps, be sup- 
posed that I mention this for the purpose of condemnation. 
No such thing, The Rev. Gentleman is well aware that 
riches are an impediment to sal vation, and that it is <c harder 
for a rich man to get into heaven, than for a camel to pass 
through the eye of a needle." Being anxious for the spiri- 
tual benefit of his parishioners, and in order to enable them 
to pass through the narrow way, he determined to make 
them paupers, in order to make them better Christians ; and 
with a view to relieve them from their spiritual burdens, he 
insisted upon removing them from their shoulders, and 
charitably placed them upon his own. From 1810 to 1822, 
a series of fierce contentions took place between Mr, Mor- 



349 



gan and his parishioners. At length, in 1822, the Act 
enabling the Clergy to lease their tithes was passed, and 
both Catholics and Protestants endeavoured to enter into an 
arrangement with the Rev. Gentleman. A liberal and even 
splendid offer was made to him of a fixed and certain income. 
This offer of £ 1,200 per annum, exceeding what had ever 
been received by Mr. Dunne, was peremptorily rejected. I 
now come to the statement of the facts, which, in law, 
justice, common honesty, and religion, constitutes a com- 
plete defence for my clients. In the year 1822, the peti- 
tioners set out the tithes; they did the same thing in 1824 
and 1825, and (I beg the attention of the Court to this most 
important, and to Mr. Morgan, most discreditable fact,) those 
tithes of 1822, 1823, and 1824, the Rev. Mr. Morgan has 
been actually paid; and yet, for these very tithes, after the 
lapse of four years, he sues in the Ecclesiastical Court ; 
after the tithes had been actually lodged in his holy hag- 
gards, this Priest of God sues for those very identical tithes 
in the Ecclesiastical Court, where the Surrogate would n<;t 
even listen to the parishioners' defence. Again I repeat 
my averment — the Rev, Mr. Morgan has been paid the 
tithes of 1822, 1823, and 1824. I am prepared to prove 
this plain and simple case, to which the brother-priest of 
Mr. Morgan would not listen ; and although it may appear 
strange to those who think that a parson cannot be so 
flagitiously oppressive and unjust, yet I repeat slowly, 
solemnly, and emphatically, that the Rev. Mr. Morgan has 
long since been paid the tithes which he now seeks to reco- 
ver. 

[Mere the Rev. ALLAN MORGAN, the son of the 
Plaintiff, who was sitting beside the Chairman, upon the 
Bench, got up and said, " And I slowly, solemnly, a id 
emphatically, on the part of my father, deny the al!ega-» 
tion."3 

Mr. SHEIL — I rejoice at this interruption. It does 
great honour to the Rev. Gentleman, that his filial piety 
should have thus broken out in defence of his fatherl- 
and, although he sits upon that Bench, while his father's 
cause is going on, I shall not complain either of his 'vantage 
ground, or of his exclamations, because I attribute his inter- 
position to the honest emotions of his heart. It does credit 
to him, that he should start up and say, " My father could 
not be guilty of so base and nefarious a proceeding." It 
does credit to him, that he should thus indignantly repudi- 
ate the charge, which, notwithstanding his indignation, my 
clients come prepared to make out. Yes I let the son stand 
2 H 



350 



up in the defence of the father, for Nature has made him his 
advocate. I will not adopt the same measure of dealing in 
his regard, which was pursued in respect to my client. 
The poor peasant, in whose cause I am now addressing you, 
had his son beside him in the Ecclesiastical Court. The 
father stood feeble and tottering under the burden of years, 
and the heavier load of wrongs that was accumulated upon 
him ; his son started up in his defence, but he was not 
heard — " bear him to prison \" cried the despotic Priest 
whom he had presumed to address. I will not, God forbid 
that I should, make the treatment of the old man by the 
young Parson, a precedent, upon which I shall call upon 
this Court to act. I shall not do unto others as my clients 
have been done by ; I shall act more in conformity with the 
precepts than with the conduct of the Rev. Gentleman, and 
therefore I will not strike from him the crutch which nature 
has provided to assist his lame and tottering cause. But, 
notwithstanding the denial of the son, I reiterate my accu- 
sations against the father. I am prepared to prove them, 
not only by the clear and satisfactory evidence of irre- 
proachable witnesses, but by the evidence of the Rev. J. 
Morgan himself. I hold that evidence in my hand ; here it 
is — an unquestionable and unequivocal act made by the 
Rev. James Morgan. This letter was written in consequence 
of a public meeting which was held, in order to petition 
Parliament against both Mr. Newland and Mr. Morgan. He 
proposes an accommodation. The letter commences with a 
preamble of cant, such as might have been expected from 
the Rev. Gentleman, and thus proceeds : — 

sc Having, therefore, by a late decree of the Ecclesiastical 
Court of Ferns, fully established my right, and shown the 
futility and imprudence of illegal resistance, I come 
forward, influenced by the most anxious wish to promote 
harmony and good-will between my parishioners and me, 
to make a considerable sacrifice of my just rights and income, 
and unequivocally to shew, that with me shall not rest the 
fault, should a spark of dissension unfortunately continue/' 

Well, indeed, might he talk of the futility of resisting a 
Parson in an Ecclesiastical Court ! But, mark what the Rev. 
Gentleman proposes. But, before I read his proposal, it is 
right to inform you of one main and essential fact. The 
living of the Rev. Gentleman was under sequestration in 
the years 1822, 1823, and 1824. Mr. Townsend, who is 
now in Court, and whom 1 am prepared to produce as a 
witness, was appointed sequestrator. He had a legal right 
to receive the tithes, and did receive in part, while the 



351 



Parson pocketed the residue. The fact and the law are 
indisputable. Well, what do you imagine that the Rev. 
Gentleman proposes as an inducement to give up a petition 
to Parliament on the subject ? I shall give you his own 
words : — 

" And such is my disposition to yield whatever prudence 
and justice will allow, that I am satisfied to extend the same 
benefit of the above concessions to all those against whom I 
have already obtained decrees, provided my present propo- 
sals shall be accepted by my parishioners." 

" Under these feelings I now propose — 

t€ First, that all monies paid by individuals to Mr. Tow T ns- 
end, the sequestrator, on account of tithes, for the years 
1822, 1823, and 1824, shall of course be allowed- 

n I next propose to deduct from the valuations of these 
years the full amount produced by the sale of the titheabk 
articles, drawn by Mr. Townsend in three years/' 

Here, then, is a clear admission that the sequestrator of 
his living received the tithes of 1S22, 1823, and 1824, But 
it may be said that tithes due by the defendants were not 
received. His letter establishes the fact, for he goes on and 
says — mark the words — " against whom I have already 
obtained decrees" — these are my clients, and the Rev. 
Gentleman admits, not by implication, but directly and 
distinctly, that their tithes were paid. He offers to deduct 
from the decrees obtained by him, without a hearing, in the 
Ecclesiastical Court the tithes paid to the sequestrator. It 
therefore is clear that he has sued for tithes already paid, — 
Now, then, I turn to the Rev. Mr. Allan Morgan, his son, 
and ask what explanation he can give of his father's letter ? 
Why does he not now start up in a paroxysm of filial emo- 
tion, and cry out — " My father could not have been guilty 
of suing the wretched peasantry for tithes already paid ?" 
There is the letter — will it be denied? Does the Reverend 
Son venture to deny the composition of the Reverend Father ? 
Does he ? I repeat my interrogatory — Does he venture to 
deny the inference? He cannot. Thus, then, from the 
evidence of the plaintiff I make out ray case. I tear from 
his own lips the testimony against himself, and send it back 
to his own heart. But my evidence does not rest here. 
Independently of the length of time which has elapsed, 
namely, four years, during which he never claimed these 
tithes, (which would, in itself, afford a presumption,) and 
independently of the admission which I have from the Rev. 
Gentleman himself, I have a horde of witnesses to prove the 
fact, namely, that the whole tithes were paid, and that they 
2H 2 



35g 



were either received by the sequestrator, or by Mr, Morgan 
himself. 

The CHAIRMAN — Mr. Sheil, whatever evidence you 
have, and however just your defence may be, and although 
I may lament that I cannot go into the merits of the case, I 
fear, or I should rather say, I have no doubt, that the Act 
of Parliament prevents me from so doing. The monition is 
made " conclusive evidence of the sum due" and therefore, all 
that you come now prepared to prove, should have been 
proved in the Ecclesiastical Court. 

Mr. SHEIL— Good God ! Mr. Chairmain, after what I 
have stated of the proceedings in the Ecclesiastical Court, 
will you shut out the evidence by which as clear a defence 
can be made as ever yet was established. The Statute 
which makes the monition conclusive, in the next section 
renders this Court a Court of Equity for the defendant. 

The CHAIRMAN — Yes; so as to prove any fact subse- 
quent to the monition ; and, therefore, if you can prove an 
actual payment to the plaintiff since the monition, I will 
hear the evidence ; but 1 cannot hear what might have been 
proved in the Ecclesiastical Court. 

Mr. SHEIL — I cannot prove a payment made since, but 
a subsequent admission of a prior payment. The Statute, 
notwithstanding the monition, is rendered conclusive evi- 
dence in favour of the plaintiff, yet it makes this Court a 
Court of Equity, and it does so without limit or qualification. 
Have I not a case in Equity ? Suppose the case of a 
Judgment obtained at Common Law. If a Bill were filed, 
alleging that the Judgment had been obtained by covin or 
fraud, and that the sum due had been paid, and the charge 
were admitted in the answer, would not a Court of Equity 
grant an Injunction ? Certainty. Apply that principle to 
this case ; a motion in an Ecclesiastical Court is analogous 
to a Judgment at Law, Here is an admission that the sum 
for which that monition was fraudulently recovered was 
paid ; and if this be a Court of Equity — 

The CHAIRMAN— This little Court has not the power 
of upsetting the judgment of the Ecclesiastical Court. 

Mr. SHEIL — Little as this Court is, the result of its 
decisions may be great and important indeed. I do not 
hesitate to say, that the eyes of the nation will be fixed on 
these proceedings. ' What matters it to the poor peasantry 
whether their causes are heard in a little Court or in a great 
Court, if the wrongs which result to them are equally enor- 
mous. Mr. Chairman, I implore you to pause before you 
determine not to let us go into our defence. We have a 



353 



clear substantial defence in law, equity, and conscience. 
Good God ! is such a sentence as that of the Rev. Mr. 
Newland to be carried into execution without the possibility 
of questioning it ? Look at what has taken place. The 
tithes are paid to the Parson, or to the sequestrator of his 
living. Four years elapse ; the Parson then sues his parish- 
ioners before his brother Priest ; the brother Priest closes 
the mouth of the defendant's Counsel, and turns him out of 
Court. He declares that he will decide, no matter what 
evidence be given, against any persons who have subscribed 
to oppose the Reverend Incumbent. He goes so far as to 
arrest the son, who attempts to defend his father ; and will 
it be said, that such a sentence, thus obtained, and virtually 
acknowledged by the plaintiff himself to be iniquitous, is 
not to be disturbed ? 

The CHAIRMAN— I have the Act of Parliament before 
me, and I am bound to abide by it. Whatever regret I may 
feel that I cannot relieve the defendants, the Act confines 
me. I have no jurisdiction, and must leave you to appeal to 
the Judge of Assize. 

Mr. SHEIL — Since your mind is made up on the sub- 
ject, it woidd be idle of me to persevere. I am sure you 
are convinced, since you tell me so, that you cannot avoid 
deciding as you do ; you certainly have heard me, and on 
that ground I have reason to complain. But let me make a 
proposition. The plaintiff may, if he thinks proper, waive 
the advantages given him by the Act of Parliament ; for his 
own sake he ought to go into the case. He has been black - 
beaned by the imputations cast upon him. The charges 
which I have been instructed to make, are of the most 
enormous nature. If they are unfounded, I shall rejoice in 
being able to recal them. What, then, is the course left to 
the plaintiff? If he be innocent let him not shun investiga- 
tion ; let him not seek a shelter in his monition ; let hint 
come forward and purify himself. Here is a pool of Bethesda 
ready for him, where he may wash himself from the moral 
leprosy with which he is incrusted. 

Mr. DONOVAN — I am the agent for Mr. Morgan, and 
I will not let him consent to go into this case, after the 

Ecclesiastical Court has decided. But I make this offer I 

will go into an account with the defendants whenever they 
please, and they shall be allowed every deduction and credit 
to which they are entitled, I offer an amnesty, and a full 
investigation of the case out of Court. 

Mr. SHEIL — I demand an investigation before a public 
tribunal. W^hy should Mr. Morgan fear the light? 
"Z H 3 



354 



The CHAIRMAN— The Act of Parliament is peremp- 
tory—and Mr. Morgan has a legal right to take advantage 
of the monition. 

Mr. SHEIL — I see, then, this sacerdotal Shy lock must 
have his pound of flesh. 

Mr. DONOVAN — Mr. Sheil has asked why Mr. Morgan 
allowed four years to pass before he sued for the tithes 

Mr. SHEIL — I do not want any answer from you. 

Mr. DONOVAN — When the question is put why should 
■it not be answered ? 

Mr. SHEIL — Let us have done — the Chairman ha* 
decided. Mr. Morgan has refused to have the matter inves- 
tigated. I did not want his Attorney to answer my interro- 
gatories ; let him be sworn if he desires to become a witness, 
and to vindicate his client by abandoning his monition. I 
have made my statement — if it be untrue Mr. Morgan was 
furnished with the opportunity of refuting it. He shrinks 
from investigation ; I leave him, then, with his money in his 
pocket, and all the consequences to his reputation, and to 
that of his Church, with which his acquisitions will be 
attended. 



MR. SHEIKS 



SPEECH 

IN VINDICATION OF THE 

VIOLENCE OF THE ASSOCIATION. 



Mr. SHEIL said — You are assembled upon an occasion 
of no ordinary moment ; you meet in order to determine 
upon the general system which you are hereafter to adopt, 
and to intimate to your advocates and to your antagonists, the 
principles upon which your proceedings are intended to be 
regulated, and the general course which you mean to follow. 
I do not exaggerate when I say, that whatever little weight 
may be attached to individuals, and however our opponents 
may affect to hold, at a cheap rate, the most active of the 
members of our own body, yet, that the cause itself is of 
such a magnitude, and upon its progress, so much of the 
stability of parties depends, that the eyes of the country are 
directed to our measures, and it is a subject, both amongst 
our supporters and our opponents, of anxious enquiry, 
whether, at all hazards, we shall press the discussion of our 
question in the ensuing Session of Parliament. Although 
the period for discussion is yet remote, it is of consequence 
that it should be previously well known how far we are dis- 
posed in order to accommodate ourselves to the conveniencies 
of the present Administration, to abstain from all " ignorant 
impatience " (to use the ministerial phrase ; of our grievances, 
and to keep our question back, lest it should be a source of 
molestation to our supporters, and its agitation, by embroil- 
ing them with their confederates in authority, may ruffle 
the pillows of office. It is right that the people of Ireland 
should be apprised (because upon their anticipations much 
of their zeal and energy must depend) of the course 
which the managers of their question purpose to take. — 
A decision upon this point is the more requisite, because a 
hope has been expressed, that we should refrain from any 
rude and uncourteous intrusion of our sufferings upon the 
consideration of the Ministry, and that we should leave the 
introduction of our cause to the discretion of our friends ia 



356 



the Cabinet, in which, as well as in the integrity of their 
views, and the sincerity of their support, it is said that w r e 
ought not to entertain any doubt. Nobody will deny who 
is at all acquainted with the character of the Irish Catholics, 
that by the suppression of our question, the public feeling 
will be very considerably modified. In considering the ex- 
pediency of committing the entire management of the cause 
to our Parliamentary a.dvocates, the result of the debate in 
either House of the Legislature is not alone to be taken into 
account ; we must recollect, besides, that we are acting 
for a sanguine, an impetuous, ardent and impassioned mul- 
titude, to whose wishes, and I w T ill add 3 to whose passions 
something must be conceded, and that, while upon one 
hand it is of importance to consult the official conveniences 
of our advocates in power, it is of still greater consequence 
to keep alive the feeling in this country, which it has cost 
much labour to call up, and which may subside as rapidly 
to such a point of depression, that it w ill hereafter be dif- 
ficult, if it do not become almost impossible, to raise it again 
to that degree of excitation, which it has now usefully at- 
tained, but from which, if care be not taken, it may irre- 
mediably recede. The persons who are most active in the 
management of our question are often blamed for their ap- 
parent indifference to the interests of their friends and their 
recklessness of all circumstance : it is alleged that we push 
our question into discussion when the passions of the Eng- 
lish multitude are roused into the most vehement activity 
against us, and when the cabal, who derive their political 
existence from opposition to our claims, are enabled, by 
taking advantage of the prejudices which we contribute to 
excite, to thwart our advocates in their salutary designs, and 
deprive them of that power, which, to be usefully, must 
be slowly, exercised on our behalf — we are told that we 
should wait until time, that great arbitrator of political diffe- 
rences, shall have worked a political reconciliation, and that 
the Minister who is to emancipate us, must be allowed to act 
upon the tactics of Fabius " cunctando rcstituet rem " I 
am by no means insensible to the value of these arguments, 
which are greatly deserving of consideration ; but I am dis- 
posed to think, that the persons who press upon us are not 
the best acquainted with the state of public feeling in this 
country, and that they take but an imperfect and partial 
view of the case. If the effect which the bringing forward 
of the Catholic question is to have, were to be confined to 
the people of England, and I will even add to the House* 
of Parliament, the reasoning to which I have referred for 



357 



the postponement of the discussion would be just. But al- 
most all Protestants, who are prodigally liberal of their ad~ 
vice, have fallen into one essential mistake, by entirely 
overlooking the consequences with which the postponement 
— I should rather call it — the temporary abandonment of the 
question, must be attended in Ireland. The plain and sim- 
ple state of the case is this : — the directors of Catholic poli- 
tics in Ireland have two things to attend to — namely, the 
success of the question in Parliament, and also (which our 
censors entirely overlook) the management of the public 
mind in Ireland. That we should consult the accommoda- 
tion of our friends, provided it be not a serious expense of 
other still more important considerations, I am quite free to 
admit. But (and I beg to call not only your attention, but 
that of every liberal Protestant who may happen to disap- 
prove of what is called the violence of the Catholic Associ- 
ation to this view of the case,) it should be recollected that 
we have to take into an account the influence which our pro- 
ceedings must have upon our own body. A wise General,, 
who, to accommodate his allies, is advised to delay an en- 
gagement with the enemy, will consider how far that de- 
lay will weaken the confidence of his own troops, and 
may have the effect of dissolving and disbanding those 
levies, which it was difficult to bring, and it is not easy 
to keep together. This illustration will present the policy 
on which we have acted in a proper light, and will shew 
that where our own measures were apparently rash aud 
ill-advised, they were dictated by substantially solid con- 
siderations, which were not present to the minds of those 
who were disposed to censure us for precipitate folly and 
presumptuous indiscretion. The Irish Catholics must be 
attended to as well as the Protestants of England. By 
consulting the proud prejudices and lofty caprices of the 
latter, the energies and enthusiasm of the former body may 
be gradually suspended, and by a system of perpetual sub- 
serviency to circumstances, the moral power which arises 
from the ardour and confederacy of an immense and vehe- 
ment population, may be dissipated and wasted away. Six 
millions of people cannot be kept bound up in the same sys- 
tem of confederacy, and animated by the same ardent and 
unabated solicitude for the attainment of a single great ob- 
ject, excepting by a perpetual and unremitting appeal to 
their expectations. Take away hope, lethargy succeeds, 
and at length indifference and oblivion find their way into 
the public mind. This will be (it has already been — expe- 
rience proves it) the consequence of not pressing the Catha- 



358 



lie question : that the people, who had fixed their hopes 
upon the event of the next Session, finding that their rights 
are not even considered worthy of deliberation, will turn 
away from the question altogether. The weak and the base 
will resign themselves to their political degradation, while 
the more proud and enterprising will look into futurity, and 
indulge in the anticipation of events, in which they may 
seek for vengeance as well as for redress. These are not 
mere idle speculations — the theory itself is sustained by 
probability, but facts give confirmation to the obvious sug- 
gestions of reason. The individuals who are disposed to 
recommend a temporising, and, to use a word which has been 
much abused, a conciliatory system of policy, would do 
well to recollect the effects which it produced in Ireland. 
We are often told that our violence, as it is called, and the 
eternal obtrusion of our question on the legislature, are 
equally exasperating and wearisome — that while our vehe- 
mence produces anger, our reiterated demands generate 
tedium, and the people of England are alternately irritated 
by and tired by Catholic Emancipation. This may be true ; 
but look to the effects which are produced in Ireland by the 
cessation of Catholic meetings which took place in the year 
1821. We virtually abandoned the question. Not only 
was it not debated in Parliament, but in Ireland, there was 
neither Committee, nor Board, nor Association. The re- 
sult was, that a total stagnation of public feeling took place, 
and I do not exaggerate when I say, that the Catholic ques- 
tion was nearly forgotten — all public meetings had ceased— 
no angry resolutions issued from public bodies — no exciting 
speeches appeared in the papers — the monstrous abuses of 
the Church establishment — the frightful evils of political 
monopoly — the hideous anomaly in the whole structure of 
our civil institutions — the unnatural ascendancy of a hand- 
ful of men over an immense and powerful population — all 
these, and the other just and legitimate causes of public ex- 
asperation, were gradually dropping out of the national 
memory. The country was then in a state of comparative 
repose, put it was a degrading and unwholesome tranquillity. 
We sat down like galley slaves in a calm, A general stag- 
nation diffused itself over the national feelings. The pub- 
lic pulse had stopped — the circulation of all generous 
sentiment had been arrested, and the country was 
palsied to the heart. At this period the Roman Catho- 
lics were peculiarly moderate, to use the phrase — habi- 
tually employed by Catholic candidates for admission 
into such Societies as Kildare-street Club-house, who 



359 



befoul their own cause, and reviling their party, vainly 
hope to overcome, by their political baseness and subser- 
viency, the objections to their exceedingly ungentlemanlike 
religion. I think it will be conceded to me, that it would 
have been difficult for the Catholics to have been more mo- 
derate. It would be hard to conjecture a condition of more 
complete and unqualified debasement. The " beau ideal " 
of political turpitude was realised, and in the full stretch of 
his imagination, Mr. Peel could scarcely have conceived us 
to be more degraded. The experiment of " moderation," 
which is only another expression for contented thraldom, 
was fully tried — and what was the result ? It was two-fold, 
The question receded in England, and fell back from the 
general notice. There it was utterly forgotten, while in 
Ireland, the spirit and energy of the people underwent an 
utter relaxation, and the most vigorous efforts became neces- 
sary to repair all the moral deterioration which the whole 
body of the Irish Catholics had sustained. It was at length 
decided by those, who, whatever may be their imprudence, 
have never shewn any want of due zeal in this great cause, 
that some exertion should be made. I shall give you a 
proof of the low ebb to which political feeling had fallen. 
Mr. O Connell and myself took upon ourselves to write cir- 
cular notes, which we jointly signed, to the leading Roman 
Catholics, entreating them to assemble together, in order to 
devise some means of raising the question from its low con- 
dition. These notes were treated, by the] majority of per- 
sons to whom they were addressed with indifference, and it 
was w T ith great difficulty that a few individuals of any res- 
pectability were collected together. The foundations of the 
Catholic Association were then laid, and it must be confess- 
ed, that its first meetings afforded few indications of the im- 
portance and magnitude to which that institution was sub- 
sequently raised. The attendance was so thin, and the pub- 
lic appeared so insensible to the procedings, that any men, ex- 
cept those who were determined not to be deterred by any 
obstacles, would have abandoned the enterprise in despair. 
The Association, in its origin, was treated with contempt, 
not only by the adversaries of Emancipation, but Catholics 
themselves spoke of it with derision, and, if I may so sav, 
spurned at the walls of mud which their brethren had ra- 
pidly constructed, but which were afterwards to ascend into 
a more imposing and lofty fabric. Still we persevered, and 
at length the great body of the Roman Catholics were 
awakened from their torpor. The national lethargy was 
shaken off, and a considerable and gradually increasing in- 



360 



terest was felt in our discussions. The speeches delivered 
in the Association were read, and whatever might have been 
their defects in style, and however widely they might have 
departed from the rules of pure and simple oratory, still 
they contained a powerful appeal to the feelings of the peo- 
ple—their degrading condition was presented in its just 
light. They were called upon to look upon their own shame, 
and were made to blush at the turpitude of their condition. 
Truths of a most painful and exasperating kind were told. 
The Catholic aristocrat was made to feel that his ancient 
blood, which slavery had made stagnant in his veins, was 
of no avail — the Catholic merchant was taught, that his cof- 
fers filled with gold could not impart to him any substan- 
tial importance, when every needy Corporator looked down 
upon him from the pedestal of his arristocratic religion — 
the Catholic priest was informed that he had much 
occasion to put the lessons of humility inculcated by 
the gospel, into practice, when every coxcomb minister 
of the establishment could, with impunity, put some 
sacerdotal affront upon him. The very humblest pea- 
sant in the land was desired to look at his Protestant 
neighbour, and compare his condition with his own. In 
short, from the proudest nobleman down to the meanest serf, 
the whole body of Roman Catholics were rendered sensible 
of their inferior posture in the State. The stigma was 
pointed at — men became exasperated at their grievances, 
when they were roused to their perception— a mirror was 
held up to Ireland to shew her her own degraded image, 
and when she beheld the brand upon her forehead, it bega:: 
to burn. In a little time a great movement was produced 
through the country— the meetings of the Association 
became crowded — individuals of all classes gradually joined 
it, and insensibly its attraction became stronger every day, 
till it grew into one great national incorporation. The 
Catholic Rent was introduced by Mr. O'Connell, and 
established in almost every parish in the country. This 
was a new bond of affiliation. Every contributor considered 
himself as linked with the institution which he aided to 
support, and it may be said, that at length six or seven milli- 
ons of Roman Catholics were engaged in one vast and powerful 
confederacy. And here let me for a moment pause, and 
ask, whether reviled and vilified as the Catholic demagogues 
have been, they still did not accomplish great things, when 
they thus succeeded in marshalling, and bringing the whole 
population of the country into array. Compare the state of 
the Roman Catholics in the year 1821 with their condition 



361 

in the year 1825, and say at which of those periods was 
their attitude most imposing and imperative ? Nor were 
the effects of the Association confined to this country. The 
English people had previously been taught to hold us in 
their contempt : but when they saw that such an immense 
population was actuated by one indignant sentiment, and 
was combined in an impassioned, but not the less effectual, 
organization, and above all, when they perceived one thou- 
sand pounds a week pouring into our exchequer, their 
alarm was excited, and although their pride was wounded, 
they ceased to despise where they had begun to fear. At 
last the Legislature were called upon to interfere, and all 
the power of the Ministry was exerted in order to crush the 
body, which owed its very existence to the grievances 
which they had refused to redress. At that period an 
opportunity was, perhaps, afforded to carry the Catholic 
Question. If the friends of Emancipation who voted with 
the Ministers had said, that relief to Ireland should be the 
preliminary condition to their support, the great measure 
would, in all probability, have been carried. But unhappily 
the suppressing bill was allowed to pass; nothing was done for 
Ireland, while the Association was attempted to be extin- 
guished by an Act of Parliament, which has, thanks to the 
excited spirit of the country, been found of no effect. The 
Catholic Question came on almost immediately after the 
vote for the suppression of the Association had passed. At 
that time the mind of Ireland was in a glow, and that of 
England was almost equally excited. The result of the 
discussion in the House of Commons affords a tolerably just 
test of the general prudence of discussion. It was said on 
the eve of the debate, that the virulence of the Catholics 
had exasperated the House of Commons to such a degree, 
that there was no chance of the measure being carried. In 
this feeling even our best and most undoubted friends parti- 
cipated. On the very day on which Sir Francis Burdett 
brought the measure forward, (the incident is deserving of 
mention) he came, attended with several eminent persons, 
to a meeting of the Deputies, and informed us that it was 
considered exceedingly hazardous to bring on the measure. 
We remonstrated, and pressed for a discussion. Sir Francis 
Burdett and his distinguished companions retired, stating 
that they would return to a meeting of our friends, from 
which they had come, and let us know their determination, 
and shortly after it was announced that Mr. Tierney had 
given his decided opinion in favour of a discussion, and that 
the present Master of the Mint had overcome every objec- 
2 I 



S6 C 2 



tion. The question was accordingly brought forward and 
carried in the Commons. The virulence of the Association 
was urged as the leading argument,, but it was of no avail. 
On the contrary, I am convinced that the Irish people 
never assumed so imposing an attitude. The measure was 
afterwards lost in the Lords, but no candid person will 
attribute that loss to the Catholic Association. Its rejection 
was not put upon any such ground. But was the spirit of 
Ireland subdued or dismayed by that rejection ? Certainly 
not ; and as the best evidence of it, I may appeal to an 
event in the history of the country, which will not be readily 
forgotten, and from which very important issues may yet be 
expected to follow— I mean the political insurrection of the 
forty-shilling freeholders, which took place immediately 
after the failure of our question. It will be asked, perhaps, 
why I refer to an incident, which, in its origin, did not 
redound much to the credit of the Catholic Deputies. I 
admit that in offering to sacrifice the forty- shilling free- 
holders, a mistake — a serious, but innocent, mistake was 
made. But while I am thus frank, let me be allowed to 
add, that we, who are blamed for an apparent readiness to 
make this sacrifice, did not know the quantity of public 
virtue which was to be found in rags, and that the demon- 
strations of humble heroism which attended the last election, 
resulted from the moral preparation which the minds of the 
peasantry had undergone, and which the Catholic Associ- 
ation had effected. We may be blamed for having ten- 
dered the franchises of the people, as the considera- 
tion for the national equalization, but let it not be for- 
gotten, that if we were in fault in this particular, we 
had ourselves previously awakened the lower orders to that 
sense of their duties and of their importance, which was 
afterwards displayed. I have no hesitation in stating, that 
but for the Catholic Association the forty- shilling freeholders 
would never have rebelled against their proprietors. — 
The wonders which were achieved in Waterford, in Armagh, 
in Monaghan, and in Louth, may be referred to that system 
of energy which we had previously adopted : and, with the 
blessing of God, and the aid of that spirit which will never, 
I trust, die away in our hearts, in that system of energy we 
will persevere. The fruits which it has already produced 
have been signal, and still more important consequences 
may yet be expected to follow. Therefore, I, for one, or I 
should rather say, for the thousands who sympathise with 
me, do declare, that never, under no circumstances — tempted 
by no inducements — deterred by no fears — allured by no 



36'3 

expectations, beguiled by no promises, will we ever consent 
to allow a single Session to pass without pressing for a dis- 
cussion in Parliament. I do candidly own, that the 
very irritation produced by the rejection of our claims, and 
the exasperation of the people are amongst the most power- 
ful inducements to urge the question on. I am for that 
system which will shew the Ministers that they never can 
expect to tranquillize Ireland, except by conceding our 
claims ; I am for that system which will render our question 
a thorn in the sides of Government, and I w T ould drive that 
thorn in as deeply, and make it fester and rankle as poig- 
nantly as I am able. It is upon this principle, and because 
everlasting discussion forms a part of that system, that I 
suggest the propriety of having it known that we are deter- 
mined not to suffer the Ministers to slumber in their places, 
and that we will not yield up our liberties to their accommo- 
dation. Let us not be told that we should not disturb them 
in their repose, nor knock at the gates of the Legislature, 
lest we should awake them from the tranquillity of office, 
and rouse them from the golden dreams of power. We are 
not, after all, like the captives of Calcutta, who were allowed 
to perish rather than that the Rajah should be awakened 
from his sleep. Let not the Ministers expect to slumber on 
undisturbed by the wrongs, and unaroused by the cries of 
Ireland. Ireland shall thunder at, though she may not be 
able to break open their doors, till the Ministers shall them- 
selves exclaim, "wake, England, with this knocking." I 
have, Sir, stated my reasons for pressing a discussion, as 
part of that system on which I conceive that we should 
uniformly act. We must keep perpetually in view the 
necessity of adapting ourselves to the passions of the Irish, 
as well as of soothing the prejudices of the English people. 
This never should be lost sight of, and those who are most 
inclined to censure our conduct, and are sometimes at a loss 
to account for our " violence/' as it is called, will find in 
this simple remark, the obvious clue to our policy. What- 
ever we do, men will always be found to cavil at our pro- 
ceedings, and this being the inevitable consequence of 
whatever course we adopt, I prefer the bold and manly 
system to the base and servile, which will equally supply 
arguments against our cause. This view of our condition, 
and the principles on which we should act, is well put by 
Edmund Burke in a letter to Dr. Lawrence, recently pub- 
lished by the Archbishop of Cashel. Edmund Burke says— 
" In the Parliament of Great Britain Lord Grenville turned 
the loyalty of the Catholics against themselves. He argued 
2 I 2 



364 



from the zeal and loyalty they manifested — their want of a 
sense of any grievance. If the people are turbulent and 
riotous, nothing is to be done for them on account of their 
evil dispositions. If they are obedient and loyal, nothing is 
to be done for them, because their being quiet and contented 
is a proof that they feel no grievance/' When we are 
thus exposed to have either our servility or our irritation 
turned equally against us, and as our continued degradation is 
to be the premium of our loyalty, it becomes every man to 
make an election between the two evils, and for my own 
part I do not hesitate in making a choice of the alternative. 
If I am to be treated like a dog, I had rather be chained up 
as a furious hound, than beaten like a well-bred spaniel, and 
repaid with blows for my sycophancy and fawning. But 
independently of the superior manliness of taking a bold and 
determined course, and of calling the attention of the whole 
empire, and I may add of the world, to the oppression of the 
Irish Catholics, which is so disgraceful to the English 
nation, and makes all Europe cry out " shame/' the more 
honourable is also, I have no doubt, the wisest course. No- 
thing but the permanent exigency of concession will produce 
it. It is for us to generate that exigency. How is that to 
be effected ? By rousing, consolidating, and organising the 
energies of the people. Let me not be misunderstood. I 
am not sufficiently absurd to speak of physical force. By 
organization I mean no more than a moral confederacy, and 
a system of combined and simultaneous action in regulating 
all the movements of our own body. Much has been 
already done. But much more may still be done. We 
have admirable materials in our hands. In every parish in 
Ireland, there is a parish-priest and a curate. The Clergy 
of Ireland constitute a sort of intellectual aristocracy, and 
supply the place of an aristocracy of rank or wealth, in 
which we are deficient. I shall take an early opportunity 
of carrying into effect, a project which I before suggested, 
of establishing a communication between a central Com- 
mittee of correspondence and every parish in Ireland. Thus 
simultaneous meetings through the whole country may be 
produced. There are difficulties in the way, but difficulties 
vanish before the spirit of genuine enterprise. A great 
exertion ought to be, and, with the blessing of God, shall be 
made. The whole population of Ireland shall be aroused ; 
a fiercer ardour for liberty than ever yet was raised, shall be 
called up, and the tables of the Legislature shall groan 
beneath the burden of petitions that shall be accumulated 
itnon them. Let our English legislators learn what they 



365 



have to expect from the refusal of all justice to our country, 
ft cannot be too often and too powerfully impressed upon 
them. And as the number of our petitions should corres- 
pond with the vastness of the population which is affected 
by our grievances, so should their spirit be in union with 
the feelings by which we are actuated. Let there be no 
prostration, no debasement, in the sentiments which those 
petitions shall breathe ; let us demand our equalization as a 
right, indefeasible and immutable, and show that when we 
ask for liberty, we are animated by the emotions of men 
who are deserving of freedom. There are many — aye, and 
in our own body — who tell us that we should approach the 
Legislature in a base and servile attitude, as if Ireland 
should be fearful lest the reiteration of her complaints should 
weary the Honourable House, and she should preface her 
supplications with an apology for her intrusion, and exclaim, 
" I hope I don't intrude." Let me not be told of the pride 
of the English people. If they are proud they will even- 
tually respect us the more for adopting a little of their own 
character and demeanor. The tone, and the attitude of 
Ireland should correspond with her increasing importance 
and power. She should stand at the Bar of the Legislature 
erect and independent, and stretching forth her vigorous and 
gigantic arm, (upon w T hich a chain should no longer be 
worn,) she should remind her oppressors of the infraction of 
treaties, of the breach of contracts, of the violation of all 
right, of the outrage upon all honour ; and having demon- 
strated her injuries — having disclosed all her wrongs — 
having torn open her bosom, if I may so say, and shewn the 
hideous cancer of faction eating her to the heart, and cor- 
roding the life and substance of her being, she should tell 
them that she will be eventually as strong as she is miserable, 
and exclaim, " Do me justice — rescue me from wretched- 
ness, and from distraction — give me back my liberty — raise 
me to the place I should maintain in the empire — give me 
back my spoliated rights — restore me to my violated fran- 
chises — give me back my liberty, or I pause upon the 

brink of the alternative to which I had hurried, and, reced- 
ing from it, leave it to } t ou to complete the sentence. I have 
forborn from entering into any speculation on the probable 
result of a discussion in the ensuing Session of Parliament, be- 
cause, whatever may be our calculations as to that result, we 
should persevere in the system of petition. Perhaps my 
temperament is naturally over sanguine, but I own I am 
not disposed to despond in my anticipation of the fortunes of 
my country. The majority of the present Ministry are 
21 S 



366 

favourable to Ireland, and it is idle to suppose that our 
petition can put them out of office, when we recollect 
that there are no persons to supply their places. The 
opposition is now reduced to a felicitous triumvirate — to 
Sir Thomas Lethbridge, Mr. Peel, and his favourite Pren- 
tice Boy, Mr. Dawson, and even upon their permanent 
support, the Orange faction cannot place any very strong re- 
liance ; for Sir Thomas Lethbridge is going upon his tra- 
vels, and it is to be hoped, will touch at the island of Anty- 
cira :— Mr. Peel, it is believed, having discovered the Royal 
disrelish for what the King is reported to have designated 
as " his genteel vulgarity," has determined to spin the re- 
mainder of his days in domestic oblivion of the solicitudes of 
political life — and with respect to the Right Hon. George 
Dawson, the friends of Emancipation apprehend that the 
cause will speedily lose the benefit of his opposition, and 
that in some foggy morning in the suicidal month of No- 
vember, the Hon. Gentleman will be discoverd in the ditch- 
water of the modern Numantia ; for it is reported, that he 
has been lately seen wandering along the Moat of the city 
of Londonderry, with a hasty step and agitated demeanour, 
and it is conjectured, that its dyke, covered with Orange 
ooze, (the appropriate emblem of his mind,) may serve 
him a good turn, by assisting his heroic enterprise 
against himself. From such an opposition little is to be ap- 
prehended, and therefore no argument can be drawn from 
any danger to which the Ministers may be exposed. — - 
With respect to the present Ministry, they remain to be 
tried. As yet nothing has been done to induce us to look 
upon them with distrust ; and although at first view, the 
appointment of Lord Anglesea, who drew an unhappily 
figurative phrase from his profession, seems ill-omened, 
yet, there is reason to think, that his Lordship, whose 
friends said that he spoke in a " civil sense," has no notion 
of dragooning us into violence, or cutting us down into sub- 
mission. His Lordship only used the rhetorical sabre — the 
tcelum oratoris, as it is called ; and in justice we ought to 
weigh all his former votes against the ebullition of English 
pride into which, what he called, our violence had betrayed 
him. Lord Anglesea is said to be an intelligent and an am- 
bitious man, and his good sense should teach him, that an 
honourable ambition would be best gratified by his being a 
means of effectually tranquillising, by appeasing, the discon- 
tents of Ireland. Nor can I think that Lord Lansdowne 
would retain the Home Department, if an Orange Lord 
Lieutenant were to succeed a Nobleman, whose power to 



367 



o serve us did not correspond with his inclination. Sur- 
veying the whole frame and constitution of the Ministry, I 
iwn that I am disposed to place confidence in them ; and 
lthough I recollect the difference between men in and out 
f office — between 

" Patriots, bursting with heroic rage 
And Placemen all tranquillity and smiles/' 

Still I cannot bring myself to think that the Whigs, who 
vere so long our true and faithful advocates, w T ill yield to the 
emptations of " tickling commodity/' and ever substanti- 
al} 7 desert us. Suspicion is a bad and mean passion, and 
intil I see strong reason to distrust them, I shall put a reli- 
nce in the majority of the cabinet, who profess themselves 

be our supporters. But let me tell you, in whom I place 

1 far deeper and stronger trust. I trust, it is true, in Lord 
^andsdowne, I trust in Mr. Tierney, I trust in Lord Gode- 
ich, and more than in Lord Goderich, and more than in 
dr. Tierney, and more than in even Lord Lansdowne, and 
tiore than in the whole array of ancient Whigs and new- 
angled Tories, I put my trust in the firmness, the union,, 
he consolidation, the unconquerable energy, the un quench- 
.ble spirit, and the indomable determination of seven mil- 
ions of the Irish people. 



MR. SHEXL'S 



SPEECH 

ON 

THE HOLDING OF 
SIMULTANEOUS MEETINGS. 



Mr. SHEIL said — The Catholics of Ireland — in other words,> 
seven millions of the inhabitants of this country, have beem 
called on to assemble— a summons has been issued to thet 
Irish people, to gather in simultaneous conventions. They\ 
have been enjoined to meet in the temples of their ancient ! 
creed at the same moment. The Priest will appear in his: 
stole — he will ascend the steps of the altar — he will offer thet 
holy and mysterious sacrifice, and lift up the chalice with' 
his consecrated hands to heaven. His fellow-believers will ! 
bow down in the performance of that solemn and venerable ( 
rite, and when the divine oblation shall have been conclud- 
ed, the Minister of a worship endeared by long suffering 
for its sake to the people, will turn round and say, " I am 
a citizen as well as a priest, and in my double character, 
and in the name of your country and of your God, I call on 
you to seek redress for the wrongs of the one, and to relieve 
from shame the religion of the other/' This language, a Ian- 
guage like this, uttered at the same instant from every altar ini 
this country, will achieve much. I am not in the habit of mak- 
ing any vaunt of what I have done in this great cause. — but I 
I own that I cannot suppress an emotion of pride at having 
been the first to suggest a project which is not the least easy, 
because it is bold, and to which I look as the principal means 
of accomplishingthe equalization of all classes of the Irish peo- 
ple, and through that equalization, the lasting peace, and the 
tranquillity of the country. When once the Cabinet behold the 
whole population completely organised and arrayed, they 
will not be deaf to our requisition for redress. Confiding 
not only in the justice, but in what is far better than the 



369 



justice of our cause, and putting, as I do, my best, almost 
my only trust in the power and the union, and consolidation 
of the great community to which I belong, I shall sav 
more : — No wise minister will dare to withhold what seven 
millions demand, not only with an impassioned ardour and a 
vehement adjuration, but what is far more important — what 
they demand together, and call for in the name of justice 
at once. Lord Bacon, whose imagination was the lamp by 
which he threw light on his deep and vast meditations, says 
u that the people are like Briareus, because he was the 
giant of a hundred hands/' Hitherto the Irish people 
raised up their arms irregularly and by starts — let them put 
forth all their power in one simultaneous supplication — let 
Briareus even upon his knees (for I would not allow Bria- 
reus to get up) lift up his hundred hands together, and the 
gigantic Petitioner will not be disregarded. " Do you mean 
to threaten us ? " some Protestant, bloated and big with the 
consciousness of his ascendancy, will, perhaps, exclaim- 
No. But I entreat him to peruse a recent treatise of the 
Under-Secretary of State, and he will find in the simulta- 
neous meetings of seven millions of the Irish people, the 
best practical commentary upon Mr. Spring Rice's patriotic 
and impassioned lucubrations. What did the Under-Secre- 
tary of State declare ? That which I dare not utter, but 
which, in his official whispers with my LordLansdowne, Mr. 
Spring Rice will not fear to intimate. Yet, to a certain ex- 
tent I will speak out, and ask whether, if seven millions of 
the Irish people are thus marshalled, it be possible that their 
rights should long be kept back ? Who will be sufficiently 
rash to answer in the affirmative ? Is it wise — is it — aye 
— that is the word — is it safe to continue the system by 
which such results are generated ? Was such a state of 
things ever yet heard of? Has it a parallel in the history 
of the world ? Is there an instance of any Government, ex- 
cept that of England, thus arraying and disciplining the 
people into alienation from the State, by a mad perse- 
verance in a course which irritates the feelings, stimu- 
lates the passions, and exasperates the indignation of seven 
millions of its subjects ? W T hat but a diseased and deeply- 
disordered state of things could thus raise the whole popu- 
lation of the country into this orderly and pacific leve en 
masse, and bring them into phalanx ? I may be asked, " if 
you consider this mighty gathering an evil, why do you co- 
operate in its production ?" My reply is this : — The gather- 
ing is not the evil ; in the law, which thus organizes the peo- 
ple, lies the essence and source of calamity. The assembling 



370 



of the people is but the evidence of the condition of the 
country, and I would not deny the Government the benefit 
of that great phenomenon. If the people can thus meet to 
petition — if they are so systematically organised, that at a 
signal of peace (for we use no other) they immediately fall 
into their ranks, and present an almost infinite array of sup- 
plicants, what are we to expect if we What shall I 

say ? If ever the prognostications of the Under- 

Secretary of State shall be unhappily converted from specu- 
lation to reality, and shall pass from possibility into fact. The 
simultaneous meetings do not produce the evil ; they only 
serve to illustrate and place it in a conspicuous and pow- 
erful light ; they throw a glare upon the Penal Code. — 
These suggestions are meant for our opponents, in order 
that they may dispel the mist and obscurity which impede 
their intellectual vision, and prevent them from perceiving 
the brink on which they tread. I would shake, and some- 
what rudely rouse these Somnambulists, who dream upon 
a precipice, on whose verge they take their walks of 
visionary security. But I have another task to perform. If 
what is uttered in this room did not reach beyond it, I 
should not waste my labour in thriftless declamation here. 
But that which is spoken in this assembly is heard at a 
great distance. The press is a speaking-trumpet — and every 
word I utter is carried through that great vehicle of the 
mind, to the remotest extremities of Ireland. I feel that 
every syllable that I articulate will be heard, not only by the 
hundreds within these walls, but by the millions without 
them. The press, I repeat it, is the trumpet, into which I 
put my spirit. I feel as if I stood upon some great eminence, 
and from that elevation addressed myself to congregated 
millions. To them, and not to you, I speak and say, 

* ( Slaves slaves, you are seven millions — know your 

own strength — appreciate your power — it is no longer fitting 
that a handful of men should lord it over you. Meet on the 
same day — at the same moment — meet loyally, legally and 
constitutionally — but meet — assemble round your altars and 
your priests —let the rites of your Church be celebrated — 
let the chalice ascend and the cross be lifted up, and then 
raise your voices for liberty together. Raise such a call for 
freedom, as shall travel through every department of the 
State. Let the representatives of the people hearken to that 
burst of anguish from the peoples' hearts — let it reach into 
the lofty halls of the titled senate, and amidst the luxurious 
recesses of the kingly palace. Let it not be unheard. Let a 
shout go foi*th for freedom, at which England shall start — to 



371 



which France shall not be deaf— at which prince* shall be 
amazed,, and cabinets shall stand appalled. Call for free- 
dom, and call for it as your right — call for it in the name 
of reason — call for it in the name of justice — call for it in 
the name of expediency— call for it in the name of safety — 
call for it legally but determinedly — and above all — let 
seven millions call for it together. 



MR. SHELL'S 

SPEECH 

AT 

AN AGGREGATE MEETING, 

HELD IN 

CLONMEL, DURING THE ASSIZES, 



THE Assizes for this county exhibit a deplorable specta- 
cle of misery, fierceness, insubordination, turbulence, and 
guilt. This alarming state of things may be connected, to a 
certain extent, with local causes ; but, in my judgment, it is 
also the result of the moral and political condition of the 
people, and may be traced to the operation of laws, which 
cannot have failed to produce an influence upon the charac- 
ter, the feelings, and general disposition of the whole com- 
munity. The Penal Code appears to me to afford an ade- 
quate cause for all the mischief that prevails — the distrust 
and alienation created between the higher and lower classes 
by laws, which foster religious acrimony, are the mainspring 
and fountain-head from which the public calamities flow. — 
In Great Britain, the different departments of the commu- 
nity are not divided by any immediate and palpable line of 
separation — the boundary between the different degrees of 
society is scarcely perceptible — all ranks are connected by 
regular and successive gradations, and are chained by a 
series of small and uninterrupted links. The whole body of 
the people have a common interest in maintaining the law by 
which they are equally protected ; but, in Ireland, the po- 
pulation is divided into two distinct parts, by a barrier erect- 
ed by the Legislature, which keeps them at a distance from 
each other. The Catholic is separated from the Protestant, 
not by his religion (because they live in other countries in 
perfect harmony) but by the law, which renders religion 
the standard of superiority. Thus the Penal Code becomes 
a hot-bed of bad passion — an interruption of sympathy is 



373 



produced by this artificial separation, and having no partici- 
pation of feeling, both parties have become accustomed to 
consider their essential interests as distinct. The gentry, who 
are in a great measure composed of the professors of the pri- 
vileged religion, have no influence over the mass of the popu- 
lation., from which they are kept asunder by the law. — : 
Thus a sentiment amounting to hostility, which is rendered 
more or less active by local circumstances, is generated be- 
tween the proprietors of the soil and their dependants, and 
the people feeling themselves disqualified and degraded by 
the code, which sets a mark of disgrace upon them, instead 
of resorting to it for protection, are thrown into confedera- 
cies and associations founded on a mistaken principle of self- 
defence. The law first makes a caste, and that caste re- 
solves itself into multiform combinations : an universal ten- 
dency to organization is produced, and as the lower orders 
are uncontrouled by the influence of education, their tur- 
bulent passions acquire additional ferocit)' when brought in- 
to confederacy, and lead to the perpetration of the most 
atrocious crimes, of which they are themselves the ulti- 
mate victims. If a better understanding existed between 
the people and their superiors, I concive that a useful moral 
intercourse would be established, the legitimate influence 
which the gentry ought to possess would be restored, the 
associations of guilt which justice has not been able to 
break up would be dissolved, and habits of peace and sub- 
ordination would gradually grow up. ' But how is it possi- 
ble that any good understanding can exist between the two 
classes of which I have been speaking, while kept apart by 
the impolitic and exasperating distinctions created by the 
legislature ? I feel the greater confidence iu the justice of 
these views, because experience has proved the inefficacy of 
the measures to which Government has successively resorted. 
Special commissions, insurrection sets, constabulary troops, 
have failed to subdue the people into civilization. The Go- 
vernment (to use Mr. Plunkett's phrase) has not been able 
to inflict peace upon the people. Measures of severity may 
have had the effect of checking the moral disorder, or rather 
of throwing back its symptoms for a time ; but the result 
has afforded abundant evidence that the source of the mala- 
dy was so deeply rooted as to be incapable of cure by local 
and superficial applications. The venom, if I may say so, 
has been absorbed into the constitution, and cannot be ex- 
pelled except by changing the whole action of the political 
frame. I think it must be admitted, that after the failure of 
every other experiment for the pacification of Ireland, it is 
2 K 



374 



at least worth while to try the only means to which the 
legislature has not yet resorted, and which many wise and 
good men have pronounced to be the only means by 
which peace and good will can be established. If Ca- 
tholic Emancipation were substituted for the harsh and 
inefficacious measures which our opponents recommend, a 
general reconciliation between all classes would be produced 
—mutual confidence would be created, and an interchange 
of cordial feeling would take place — the obstacles to educa- 
tion which arise from political causes would be romoved — 
the habits of the higher orders would be insensibly commu- 
nicated to their inferiors — a reliance in the law would be 
diffused — the people would be tanght respect and gratitude 
to their superiors — and the latter would grow anxious to 
cherish and protect them. These views and opinions I have 
endeavoured to embody in a petition to the legislature, which 
under the existing circumstances of this county, I think it 
judicious that you should submit to their consideration. 
Having said thus much with regard to what I believe (how- 
ever I may be mistaken) to be the source of the evils by 
which we are afflicted, I consider it my duty to address to 
this immense assembly, composed of several thousands, and 
comprehending a vast body of the peasantry, some well- 
meant advice. You know me to be an active, and I may 
add, an honest member of your community ; and you are 
well aware that in the course which I have adopted, I have 
not displayed a mean and pusillanimous spirit, but am as 
deeply sensible as any man of the wrongs which are inflicted 
upon my country. What I shall say, therefore, in the shape 
strong reproof, will, I hope, be taken in good part. I tell 
you plainly and undisguisedly, that although I consider the 
government to have adopted unavailing and inapplicable 
means for the restoration of tranquility, yet that 1 look upon 
the crimes committed amongst you, not only as destitute of 
any (even the least) palliation, but as amongst the most 
disgraceful — (but that is a feeble word) — 1 should say, 
the most deserving of execration that stand in the annals 
of atrocity. What have I not witnessed in the course 
of the few days which the Assizes have occupied ! The 
recollection of what I have seen and heard before the 
public tribunals, is enough to make the blood cold, and to 
suspend the heart in its beatings. Well might the excellent 
judge, who is not only a profound lawyer, but a good and 
tender-hearted man ; well might he say, with tears in his 
eyes, that he had not, in the course of his judicial experi- 



875 

ence, beheld so frightful a mass of enormities as the calen- 
dar displayed. What a deep a stain have those terrible deeds 
left upon the character of your country — and what efforts 
should be made by every man who has a touch of humanity 
in his bosom, and one drop of kindness in his nature, to ar- 
rest the progress of villainy which is rolling in a torrent of 
blood, and bearing down all the restraints of law, morality,, 
and religion before it. Look, for example, at the murder of 
the Sheas — look at the midnight conflagration of eighteen 
of your fellow-creatures, and tell me, if there be any thing in 
the records of horror by which that accursed deed has been 
excelled ! Not only seventeen human beings, most of whom 
had never offended the perpetrators of their death, were 
sacrificed in that night which stands without a parallel — but 
the unborn child — the little infant who had never lifted its 
innocent hands, or breathed the air of life — the little child 
in its mother's womb ******** I do not 
wonder that the tears which flow down the cheeks of many a 
rude face about me, should bear attestation to your horror of 
that detestable atrocity. But I am wrong in saying that the 
child who perished in the flames was not born. It was born in 
fire ! — sent into the world in the midst of a furnace ! — trans- 
ferred from the womb to the flames, kindled by fiends, who 
exulted around them! There are mothers who hear me; 
—this vast assembly contains women doomed by the 
primeval malediction to the agonies of child-birth. 
Stretched on a bed of down, woman groans upon the rack 
on which she is laid by nature ; but what must have 
been the pains of that delivery in which a mother felt 
the infant that was clasped against her bosom, consumed 
by the fires with which she was surrounded ! I should not 
withhold from you an incident illustrative of maternal ten- 
derness, which adds to the horror of this abominable crime. 
The mother of the new-born child was found dead near a 
tub of water, in which she had placed her infant to save it, 
and the child was discovered with its skull burned off, and 
the rest of the limbs preserved by the water in which the 
expiring parent had striven in the united pains of death 
and child-birth to preserve it. What shall we say of this ! 
In what language shall we express the feelings which this 
appalling deed sends into the heart ! — with what exclamation 
shall we give vent to the emotions which are awakened by 
the recital of that which you tremble to hear, and which 
there were human beings found who were not afraid to do ! 
We can but lift up our hands to the God of justice, and ask 
2 K 2 



376 



him why he has invested us with the same forms as the 
demons who did that unexampled murder. And wiry 
did they commit it ? By virtue of a horrible league by 
which they were bound together, not only against their 
enemy, but against human nature and the God who made 
it ! — for they were bound together — they were sworn in 
the name of their Creator, and they invoked Heaven to 
sanctify a deed which they were confederated to perpetrate 
by a sacrament of hell. Although accompanied by circum- 
stances of inferior terror, the recent assassination of Barry 
belongs to the same class of guilt. A body of men, at the 
close of day., enter a peaceful habitation, on the Sabbath, 
and, regardless of the cry of a frantic woman, who, grasping 
one of the murderers, desired him € ' to think of God, and 
of the blessed night, and to spare the father of her eight 
children/' dragged him forth, and when he "offered to 
give up the ground tilled and untilled, if they spared him 
his life/' answered with a yell of ferocious irony, and 
telling him, ec he should have ground enough/' plunged 
their bayonets into his heart ! God may have mercy on 
those who did the deed, but man cannot ! An awful spec- 
tacle was presented on the trial of the wretched indivi- 
duals who were convicted of the assassination. At one 
extremity of the bar there stood a boy, with a blooming- 
face, and with down on his cheek, and at the other an 
old man, in the close of life, with a haggard look, and a 
deeply furrowed countenance, and with his head covered 
with hoary and dishevelled hair. However remote the 
periods of their birth, they met not, indeed, in the same 
grave, (for they are without a tomb,) but on the same scaf- 
fold together. In describing the frightful scene, it is con- 
soling to find that you share with me in the unqualified 
detestation which I have expressed ; and I am convinced 
that it is unnecessary to address to you any observation on 
the subject. But I must call your attention to another trial 
— I mean that of the Hogans, which affords a melancholy les- 
son. The trial was connected with the baneful practice of 
avenging the affronts offered to individuals, by enlisting 
whole clans, who wage an actual war, and fight sanguinary 
battles whenever thev encounter. I am very far from saying 
that the deaths which occur in these barbarous combats are 
to be compared with the guilt of preconcerted assassination, 
but that they are accompanied with deep criminality, there 
can be no question, and the system which produces them is 
0$ much marked with absurdity as it is deserving of con- 



377 



demnation. In this county, if a man chances to receive a 
blow, instead of going to a Magistrate to swear informa- 
tions, he lodges a complaint with his clan, who enter into a 
compact to avenge the insult — a re-action is produced, and 
an equally extensive confederacy is formed on the other 
side. All this results from an indiposition to resort to the 
law for protection, for amongst you it is a kind of point of 
honour to avoid Magistrates, and not to have recourse to any 
of the legitimate means provided for your redress. The battle 
waged between the Hickies and the Hogans, in which not 
less than five hundred men were engaged, presents in a 
strong light the consequences of this most strange and 
absurd system. Some of the Hickey party were slain in 
the field, and four of the Hogans were tried for the 
murder ; they w T ere found guilty of manslaughter, and are 
to be immediately transported ; three of them are mar- 
ried and have families, and from their wives and children 
are condemned to separate for ever. In my mind these 
unhappy men have been doomed to a fate still more dis- 
astrous than those who have perished on the scaffold. In 
the calamity which has befallen Mathew Hogan every man 
in Court felt a sympathy. With the exception of his having 
yielded to this unfortunate usage, and having made himself a 
party in the feuds of his clan, he has always conducted himself 
with propriety. His landlord felt for him not only an inte- 
rest but a strong regard, and exerted himself to the utmost 
in his behalf. He never took part in deeds of nocturnal 
villainy — he does not bear the dagger and the torch — honest, 
industrious, nay, even mild and kindly- natured, he was 
seconded by the good will of every man who was acquainted 
with him. His circumstances in the world were not only 
comparatively good, but when taken in reference to his 
condition in society, were almost opulent. He rather resem- 
bled an English yeoman than an Irish peasant. His appear- 
ance at the bar was in a high degree moving and impressive — 
tall, athletic, and even noble in his stature, with a face finely 
formed, and wholly free from any ferocity of expression, he 
attracted every eye, and excited even among his prosecutors 
a feeling of commisseration. He formed a remarkable con- 
trast with the ordinary class of culprits who are arraigned 
in our public tribunals. So far from having guilt and depra- 
vity stamped with want upon him, the prevailing character 
of his countenance was indicative of gentleness. This 
man was convicted of manslaughter ; and when he heard 
the sentence of transportation for life, the colour fled from 
his cheek — his Hps became dry and ashy — his hand shook; 
2 K 3 



378 



and his eyes were the more painful to look at, from their 
being incapable of tears. Most of you consider transporta- 
tion a light evil, and so it is to those who have no ties to 
fasten them to their country. I can well imagine that a 
deportation from this island, which, for most of its inhabi- 
tants, is a miserable one, is to many a change greatly for the 
better. Although it is, to a certain extent, painful to be 
torn from the place with which our first recollections are 
associated, and the Irish people have strong local attach- 
ments, and are fond of the place of their birth, and of their 
fathers' graves — yet the fine sky, the genial climate, and the 
deep and abundant soil of New Holland, afford many com- 
pensations. But there can be none for Mathew Hogan ; he 
is in the prime of life — is ^a prosperous farmer — he has a 
young and fond wife, and a group of young and helpless 
children; but alas ! 

" Nor wife, nor children more shall he behold^. 
Nor friends, nor sacred home." 

He must leave his country for ever — he must part from all 
that he loves, and from all by whom he is beloved : — his 
heart will burst in the separation. He will soon behold his 
family for the last time. I do confess to you, that the pic- 
ture which offers itself in anticipation to my mind overcomes 
me, and I see that you are not unaffected by it. What a 
victim do you behold in that unfortunate man of the spirit 
of turbulence that rages amongst you. Mathew Hogan will 
feel his calamity with more deep intensity, because he is 
naturally a sensitive and susceptible man. He w f as proved 
to have saved the life of one of his antagonists in the very 
hottest fury of the combat, from motives of generous com- 
misseration. One of his own kindred, in speaking to me of 
his fate, said, he would feel it the more, because (to use the 
poor man's vernacular pronunciation) " he was so tinder/' 
This tenderness of nature will produce a more painful lace- 
ration of the heart, when h* bids his infants and their mother 
farewell for ever. The prison of this town will present, on 
Monday next, a very afflicting spectacle. Before he ascends 
the vehicle which is to convey him for transportation to 
Cork, he will be allowed to take leave of his family. His 
wife will cling with a breaking heart to his bosom ; and 
while her arms are folded round his neck — while she 
sobs, in the agony of anguish, on his breast — his chil- 
dren, who used to climb his knees in playful emulation for 
his caresses, his little orphans, for they are doomed to 



S79 



orphanage in their father's life-time 1 will not go 

on with this distressing picture — your own natural emotions 
will complete it. The pains of this poor man will not end at 
the threshold of his prison — it would be well for him if they 
did. He will be conveyed in a vessel, freighted with afflic- 
tion, across the ocean, and will be set on the lonely and 
distant land from which lie will depart no more. Others, 
who will have accompanied him, will soon forget their 
country, and will devote themselves to those useful and 
industrious pursuits for which the Colony affords a field, and 
which, by rendering them better, will also make them more 
happy men. But the thoughts of home will still press upon 
the mind of poor Hogan, and adhere with a deadly tenacity 
to his heart. He will mope about in the vacant heedlessness 
of a deep and settled sorrow — he will have no incentive to 
exertion, for he will have bidden farewell to hope. The 
instruments of labour will hang idly in his hands — he will 
go through his task without a consciousness of what he is 
doing ; or, if he thinks at all. while he turns up the earth, 
he will remember him of the little garden beside his native 
cottage, which it was more a delight than a toil to till. — 
Thus his day will go by, and at its close, his only consolation 
will be to stand on the sea shore, and fixing his eyes in that 
direction in which he will have been taught that his country 
lies, if not in the language, he will, at least, exclaim, in the 
^sentiments which have been so simply and so pathetically 
expressed in the song of exile, 

u Erin, my country, tho' sad and forsaken, 

In dreams I revisit thy sea-beaten shore ; 
But, alas, in far foreign lands I awaken, 

And sigh for the friends that can meet me no more, 
Where is my cabin-door, fast by the wild wood, 

Sisters and sire did you weep for its fall ? 
Where is the mother that looked on my childhood, 

And where is the bosom-friend dearer than ail ? 

I have dwelt, perhaps, longer than I ought to have done 
upon the details of this poor man's misfortunes ; but mv 
time has not been mis-spent, nor have I abused your pa- 
tience, if I have, in any degree, succeeded in making you 
sensible of the extent cf calamity which follows the in- 
dulgence of that disastrous predilection for tumult which 
characterises the mass of the population. Let not what 
has taken place at these Assizes be thrown away upon 
you ! I implore you for your country's sake, for your own 



880 



sake, and above all, for God's sake, to take warning from 
the melancholy examples which have been presented to you 
— give up those guilty feuds which lead to savage blood- 
shed, and end in everlasting exile. Remember the ad- 
vice which has been repeatedly given to you by the Catho- 
lic Association, and especially by Daniel O'Connell, whom 
you all respect and love, to abstain from and correct those 
habits of ferocity, and those dispositions to turbulence, 
by which you are not only disgraced but deeply injured ; 
and recollect, that by the practice which I have thus strongly 
and vehemently denounced, you violate the laws of God, 
and the fundamental ordinances of society, and become 
ultimately the victims of your own misdeeds. I am sure you 
will not blame me for the advice which I have offered you, 
and you may rest assured, that I have nothing but your 
interest at heart, and am actuated towards you by just and 
honourable motives. 



THE 

SPEECHES 



OF 

COUNSEL 

ON A MOTION TO SHEW CAUSE WHY A CRIMINAL INFORMATION 
SHOULD NOT BE FILED AGAINST 

MR. AENEAS M'DONNELL, 

AT THE PROSECUTION OF 

ARCHDEACON TRENCH. 



In order to avoid any imputation of unfairness in selecting tfie 
Speeches for the Defendant, the Report of the whole of the 
debate of this interesting case is inserted — including the 
Speeches of Mr. Bennett and Mr. North, as well as 
Mr. O'Connell and Mr. Sheil. 

COURT OF KING'S BENCH— Tuesday, May 8, 1827. 

The King at the Prosecution of the Hon. and Venble. Chas. LePoer Trench, 
Archdeacon of Ardagh, v. ^Eneas M'Donnell. 

Mr. SHEIL, after reading the affidavits, said — I have 
stated, at very considerable, but I hope not at any unneces- 
sary length, the affidavits of the prosecutor and of the defen- 
dant, together with the matter contained in the affidavits 
which have been filed in sustainment of the defendant's case. 
It remains that I should submit to your Lordships such 
observations as appear to me to arise out of the facts set 
forth in the affidavits, and which, in my judgment, ought to 
induce the Court to refuse a Criminal Information. I think 
it is right to state, in the first place, the principles on which 
this Court exercises its discretionary power in allowing 
criminal informations. That they are entirely in the option 
of the Court, and are not a debt of justice, will not be dis- 
puted. Still this Court does not act in an uncertain and 



382 



capricious spirit, but applies to the circumstances of every 
case a fixed standard of decision. In the case of the King 
against Robinson, Lord Mansfield laid it down that the 
Court will not grant a criminal information where the prose- 
cutor is himself to blame, or where considerations of public 
policy render it inexpedient. The question was connected 
with an election, and involved much popular passion. The 
words used by Lord Mansfield are remarkable. There is, 
he said, " bad blood enough already." For that, among 
other reasons (but it was not the least cogent one) he refused 
the motion. In the present case, the political and religious 
animosities of two powerful classes of the community are 
involved, and I cannot refrain from asking (though I devi- 
ate from the order of observation which I had prescribed to 
myself) whether there is not already between the par- 
ties themselves, and the bodies which they respectively 
represent, a sufficiency of bad blood ? I shall distinct- 
ly state the grounds on which I am instructed to rely. 
They are threefold. First, I insist that the prosecutor is 
himself to blame : and does not come into Court, (to use the 
technical expression) with clean hands. Secondly, the 
charges brought against him are substantially established ; 
and thirdly, the subject is of such a nature, that the Court 
will be loath to interfere. Who is the prosecutor ? What 
are his merits in the transaction ? Is he entitled to any spe- 
cial interposition in his favor ? These are questions which 
offer themselves at once to the Court. He is the member of 
a powerful family, with an earl and an Archbishop at its 
head, which lias devoted itself, with a very ardent zeal, to 
the scriptural education of the Irish peasantry. Among 
those who are remarkable, Doctor Trench has rendered him- 
self conspicuous. He was onee a soldier, and belonged to a 
profession whose habits are essentially different from those 
which are supposed to belong to his present occupation. His 
life, according to his own description of himself, does not 
appear to have been undefiled, and if he brought no other 
qualification to the performance of his sacred duties, he 
seems at least to have possessed that adaptation to virtue 
which ought to arise from the weariness of enjoyment, and 
the fatigue, if not the satiety of vice. He was not only a 
soldier, but an Adjutant, and I hope I shall be pardoned 
for suggesting that the man, who admits that he beheld a 
woman flogged under his manly auspices in the Barrack-yard 
of Cork, and to have presided in his official capacity over 
her tortures, must have acquired certain pecliarities of cha- 
racter not in very exact conformity with that vocation, to 



383 



which he must have been called by some very special inter- 
position of providential fovor. However, into the councils 
of the Almighty, and of the Archbishop of Tuam, it is 
not for me to intrude. The Doctor became a very enthusi- 
astic Christian so far as mere strenuousness of belief is con- 
cerned, and in the year 1818 entered into a compact very 
creditable, it must be confessed, with the Roman Catholic 
Parish Priest, to educate the children af Catholics and Pro- 
testants, without distinction of religion, and that no book or 
usage should be introduced at variance with the creed of either 
sect. The Priest, however, discovered that the Doctor had 
introduced a manuscript catechism of his own composition, 
and proceeded to the school in order to remonstrate. He 
went accompanied by two friars, and met the Doctor at the 
entrance of the school, who advanced with outstretched arms, 
and exclaimed, " Welcome, Garret, Garret, (for Garret was 
Mr. Larkin's christian name) welcome Garret. The flock is 
numerous, but the shepherds are few/' The result, how- 
ever, of the discussion between the Friars, and the Arch- 
deacon was, that the children of the Catholic parents with- 
drew from the school, and the Archdeacon caused the Priest 
of the parish to be distrained for a hanging gale of rent — 
all intercourse between the Archdeacon and Mr. Larkin 
ceased ; but the Doctor was not deterred from the presecu- 
tion of his favourite scheme, for he published a notice, 
which was posted up in his own hand-writing, that none of 
the tenants had any favour to expect who did not send their 
children to his school, and procure certificates from two 
devout ladies who were mentioned in the notice. The Doc- 
tor is a man of his word, and it became a matter of religious 
obligation that he should fulfil his engagement, which he 
did, with the most conscientions and scrupulous exactness, 
for the tenants who obeyed his directions were liberally re- 
warded and encouraged, while upon many a wretched fa- 
ther and mother sentence was pronounced and executed, with 
a rigour which would have done credit to any court-martial 
of which the Archdeacon ever was a member I do not 
attribute those proceedings to a vitiated nature and a bad 
heart. He might have had much of the milk of human 
kindness in his original composition, however, it subsequently 
turned sour in the exercise of his holy functions. The graft 
of piety upon the military genius of the Doctor, does not 
appear to have been very successful, and the fruits which 
were produced exhibit a good deal of the original stock in 
which they grew. A great deal of misery M as the result of 



384 



the Doctor's excessive enthusiasm, which led him to consi- 
der the means, no matter how severe, as justified by the 
sanctity of the object which they were intended to attain. 
The labourers who declined to follow the ordinances of the 
Doctor were dismissed, and the houses of such of the occu- 
piers of Lord Clancarty's lands as manifested any conscien- 
tious contumacy were thrown down. They and their fami- 
lies were thrown upon the world. It is needless to state 
that this somewhat anomalous, though not very uncommon 
mode of disseminating the tenets and enforcing the precepts 
of the Gospel, occasioned much affliction. The peasantry 
were placed in a condition truly pitiable. The Doctor threa- 
tened them with the terrors of this world, and their Priest- 
hood with those of the next. The Catholic and Protestant 
gentry took part in the contest, and while the peasantry 
were persecuted and oppressed, the county which had hi- 
therto been remarkable for the concord and unanimity which 
prevailed among all classes, presented the most painful 
scenes of political and religious discord. To the Doctor 
the whole merit (whatever it may be) of these results it is to 
be ascribed. It was in this state of things that Mr. McDon- 
nell arrived in the county of Gal way — thither he proceeded 
to visit his family. Doctor Coen, the Roman Catholic Bi- 
shop of the diocess, knowing that Mr. M'Donnell was em- 
ployed by the Roman Catholic body as their agent, request- 
ed him to attend a meeting at Loughrea, which was con- 
vened in order to petition Lord Clanearty to put some check 
on the Doctor's injudicious zeal. The Bishop, deeply afflict- 
ed by the sufferings of his flock, had himself previously 
applied to Lord Clanearty, in vain. A public meeting 
was called, in the hope that a supplication to his Lordship, 
proceeding from a numerous and respectable assembly, on 
behalf of his tenantry, would be attended with better re- 
sults. Mr. McDonnell states, that the strongest evidences 
of distress and profound affliction were displayed among the 
people, many of whom were moved to tears, and whether 
their scruples were well or ill founded, is of little conse- 
quence in the mind of any humane man, who takes the 
power of religious terror into account. Mr. M'Donell was 
deeply affected by what he saw and heard, and it was under 
the influence of the impressions which were produced upon 
him on the occasion, that he attended the meeting of the 
London Hibernian Bible Society, held upon the l6th of 
October, at Balinasloe. The object of this institution is 
stated by the prosecutor to be the dissemination of the Scrip- 
tures without note or comment. None of its regulations 



385 



were inserted in the notice, nor was any prohibition intro- 
duced into it against the attendance, speaking or voting of 
any individuals who were not members of the Society. — It 
does not appear that Lord Dunlo, the Chairman, or even 
Doctor Trench himself, or any one individual who attended, 
with the exception of Mr. Pope and Mr. Gordon, belonged 
to the institution. Doctor Trench states, indeed, that it was 
one of its rules, that none but members should be permitted 
to speak ; but that rule was not only not adhered to, but was 
not even noticed in the course of the proceeding. Mr. 
McDonnell moved an amendment ; he was not prevented 
from so doing ■ on the contrary, the Chairman actually put 
the amendment from the Chair on the second day of the 
meeting. The assembly was adjourned from the 10th to the 
succeeding day, when Captain Gordon opened the discussion. 
Mr. McDonnell replied, and, as I have already intimated, 
moved an amendment, and pressed the Chairman to put the 
question. Lord Dunlo observed, that new matter had been 
introduced, and that Mr. Pope should be permitted to reply. 
To this proposition Mr. McDonnell assented, provided that, 
in case Mr. Pope were permitted to make any further 
observations, he should be permitted to exercise the 
right which he derived from established usage, of mak- 
ing the final reply. On this understanding the meeting 
adjourned to the next day. During the first two days, it can- 
not be pretended that there was any impropriety committed 
by Mr. M'Donneil, either in speaking or in moving an 
amendment, for his right to speak and vote were distinctly 
recognized by the Chairman, who was the organ of 
the meeting. It appears, therefore, to be manifest, that 
Mr, McDonnell did not commit any original deviation from 
propriety. During the first two days, there were only two 
policemen stationed in the meeting, and Dr. Trench did not 
actively interfere; but on the morning of the 12th the aspect 
of affairs underwent a material alteration. The moment the 
doors were opened, Dr. Trench placed himself at the en- 
trance, and under his direction a number of Protestants of 
the lower class, with, as it is alleged, arms under their great 
coats, were specially admitted, and stationed by the Doctor's 
orders, in the assembly. The Doctor*felt the importance of 
carrying the day, and brought to the meeting the powers of 
a Magistrate, the habits of a Soldier, and the passions of a 
Priest. His favourite project was to be promoted ; it was of 
the greatest consequence, in his mind, that it should appear, 
that in a great assembly, held in what may be called a Ro- 
man Catholic County, the circulation of the Scriptures, with- 
• 2 L 



386 



out note or comment, had been publicly approved. To gain 
this object an effort was required, and it was deemed advis- 
able to put Mr. McDonnell down. For this purpose the 
room was filled with police, who appeared to be under the 
Doctor's orders, and a large body of these Irish Gens- d'Armes 
were stationed outside the place of meeting. The Arch- 
deacon, who was well accustomed to military operations, 
placed himself beside my Lord Dunlo, who is his nephew, 
and stood with an attitude, looked with an air, and spoke 
with an intonation of command. The debate was opened by 
Mr. Pope, when Mr. M'Donnell recalled to the Chairman 
the reservation of his right to reply. Lord Dunlo, who dur- 
ing the two preceding days, had permitted Mr. McDonnell 
not only to speak but to propose an amendment, and had ac- 
tually put that amendment from the Chair, having received 
a whisper from Doctor Trench, now, for the first time, in- 
formed Mr, McDonnell that he had no right to open his 
lips, and in place of putting the amendment, proposed a 
series of resolutions favourable to the objects of the Society, 
which he declared to be carried, and left the Chair, Mr. 
McDonnell moved that the Hon. Gonville Ffrench should 
take it. He was a magistrate, the son of a peer, and the person 
next in rank to Lord Dunlo. He advanced to take the Chair, 
when Dr. Trench, turning to the police, exclaimed, u do your 
duty." The police were not slow in obeying his orders, and 
rushed in an instant, with fixed bayonets, upon the people ! 
I stop here in the narration of the facts, and beg leave again 
to call the attention of the Court to the principles upon 
which criminal informations are granted or refused. I have 
already referred the Court to the authority of Lord Mans- 
field, and although it was merely in the course of argument 
that Lord Erskine pronounced, what may be called, a com- 
mentary upon the law, still as the Court decided in his 
client's favour, in Captain Bayley's case, and as the positions 
he lays down are indisputable, it may not be improper to 
quote what was said by that great advocate, not, indeed, as an 
authority, but because the doctrine which he lays down, is 
clearly and succinctly expressed : — " This is not a complaint 
in the ordinary course of law, but an application to the Court 
to exert an eccentric, extraordinary, voluntary jurisdiction 
beyond the ordinary course of justice: — a jurisdiction which 
I am authorised, from the best authority, to say, this Court 
will not exercise, unless the prosecutors come pure and un- 
spotted; deny, upon oath, the truth of every word and sen- 
tence which they complain as injurious ; for although in 
common cases the matter may not be the less libellous, be- 



387 

cause true, yet the Court will not interfere by information, 
for guilty or even equivocal characters, but will leave them 
to its ordinary process. If the Court does not see palpable 
malice and falsehood on the part of the defendant, and clear 
innocence on the part of the prosecutor, it will not stir ; 
it will say, this may be a libel ; this may deserve punish- 
ment ; but go to a Grand Jury, or bring your action ; all 
men are equally entitled to the protection of the laws, but 
all men are not equally entitled to an extraordinary interpo- 
sition and protection beyond the common distributive forms 
of justice." That what I have read is law will scarce- 
ly be disputed. The Court will enquire whether the pro- 
secutor is himself to blame, and will look to the incep- 
tion of the proceedings, without attending minutely to 
subsequent details. The principle applied every day to cases 
of duelling, may, without any violence, be extended to 
cases of libel. If an individual gives the first offence, no 
matter by what outrages he may be subsequently provoked 
to fight, this Court will leave him to proceed by indictment. 
If, then, Doctor Trench was originally in the wrong — if, 
when under the influence of his religious passions, he acted 
in such a manner as to deserve condemnation, the Court 
will not enquire whether the condemnation was excessive 
and disproportioned to the mistake committed by the pro- 
secutor, no more than it will ask whether a challenge 
was warranted by the offence, or look to the gladiatorial de- 
tails of a duel, but will simply enquire whether the Doc- 
tor was not guilty of a very signal transgression of propri- 
ety, in his conduct at Ballinasloe. I am loath to use any 
coarse or contumelious phrase in his regard- — I will not ac- 
cuse him of any directly sanguinary intent — I will not say 
that he went armed with the Riot Act, and attended by the 
police, in order to avail himself of the first opportunity of 
letting them loose upon a defenceless body of his fellow-ci- 
tizens. But it is one question, whether a purpose so bloody 
entered distinctly into his contemplation, and another, whe- 
thether he did not, while under the operation of those fa- 
natical opinions, which obscure the understanding, w T hile g they 
extinguish humanity and petrify the heart, he did not 
(though, I suppose, with the best intentions in the world) 
perpetrate a gross and flagitious outrage — an act inconsistent 
with the character of a Clergyman, the principles of a Chris- 
tian, and the good feelings of a man — and which ought to 
deprive him of every title to your Lordship's special 
interposition on his behalf. Without charging him with a 
deliberate and sanguinary depravity, I accuse him of a wild 
2 D 2 



388 



fanaticism, which is analogous to ferocity in its results — and 
I collect from his previous habits, on which I have insisted 
for that reason, the motives and the passions by which he 
was instigated in the incident which is more directly before 
the Court. The man who, in the prosecution of his object, 
had trampled upon and crushed the miserable peasantry who 
had the misfortune to be subject to his dominion ; who had 
prostrated their hovels, and, unmoved by tears, by cries, and 
by supplications, had, in the name of God and of his Gos- 
pel, scattered misery, desolation, and despair about him, 
and done all this from the best imaginable motives — the man 
who combined with his religious habits the habits of Courts- 
martial, was, of all others, the most likely to be hurried 
into the perpetration of what, in an Archdeacon, may be 
called a mistake, but, in a less venerable person, would 
be accounted a most flagitious enormity. What, my Lords ! 
can you bring yourselves, or can you permit yourselves to 
be brought to the approval (for if you grant the informa- 
tion, you must approve) of the introduction of a military 
force into the midst of an assembly, convened for the propa- 
tion of the Word of God ? I do not think that I can be charged 
with exaggeration, or with putting a question inapplicable to 
this case, when I ask whether genuine Christianity is to be 
enforced at the point of the bayonet ? W 7 hat are the facts ? 
They may be compressed into a short compass. A meeting 
of the Hibernian London Society is convened — their object 
is to circulate the Scriptures — they assemble to listen to two 
itinerant delegates from the parent branch — the people are 
invited to attend — Mr. M c Donnell urges his arguments 
against a scheme offensive to the feelings, and incompatible 
with the religion of the people — during two days his right 
to take a share in the proceedings is not disputed—Lord 
Dunlo leaves the Chair — a magistrate, a gentleman of family 
and of fortune, and in every way respectable, is called to it 
■ — there was no riot — there was not even confusion — no 
blow was struck — no injurious exclamation was employed — 
no violence, nor symptom of violence, appeared. The object 
of the meeting — the rank and character of the persons 
assembled — every thing forbade the expedient to which Dr. 
Trench resorted; and yet, notwithstanding the combination 
of circumstances which prohibited the use of a military 
force, a Clergyman, an Archdeacon, a Dignitary of the 
Established Church, rushes forth, in the impetuosity of his 
frantic zeal, and calling on the police " to do their duty," 
precipitately reads the Riot Act, while swords are bran- 
dished, and bayonets are glittering about him, as the sane* 



389 

tion of outrage, the warrant for massacre, and the authoriza- 
tion of blood. And all this is done in the name of, and in 
the honour of, God ! I see nothing in the whole transaction 
which can afford a palliation for his conduct ; and notwith- 
standing his own sacerdotal protestations, it appears manifest 
that he had determined to disperse the meeting by the logic 
of the bayonet. He carries the Riot Act to the meeting — 
he fills it with police — he admits his own peculiar supporters 
to the meeting, and arranges them in a body — he superin- 
tends the proceedings — he gives the signal — he calls upon 
the police to advance — he bids them rush upon the multi- 
tude, and a scene takes place which was calculated to excite 
the indignation of the people, and that of every honest man 
who hears the details of the proceedings in this Court, The 
police, who were stationed in the meeting, precipitated 
themselves upon the people. Another body rushed up 
stairs, with their swords drawn and their bayonets fixed. 
They drove the Catholics before them, and mingled in- 
vectives against their religion with their ferocious excla- 
mations. The people fled before the men who had the 
instruments of massacre in their hands ; the open windows 
afforded refuge to many of them, and women threw them- 
selves for safety upon the adjoining roofs ; and all this is 
done by Doctor Trench's orders. If it was not by his orders, 
by whom were any orders given ? All this is done at his 
behest ; and give me leave to ask, whether all this was not 
calculated to excite the indignation of the multitude on 
whom this atrocious attack was made ? If the people had 
resisted — if, fired with a natural resentment, they had 
turned upon the men by whom they were so wantonly 
assailed — if, under the influence of their religious passions, 
which had been insulted and exasperated, they had merged 
the duty of citizens in the feelings of outraged human nature 
— good God ! what would have been the result ? The lives 
of hundreds might have been lost — the public streets might 
have ran with blood — a general carnage might have ensued, 
and the Honourable and Rev. Charles Le Poer Trench, the 
ex-Adjutant ex the Galway Militia, and Venerable Arch- 
deacon of the Established Church, instead of having the pre- 
sumption to come, with his foul and polluted hands, for a cri- 
minal information, into this Court, would appear at the bar 
of justice, and stand a trial for his life I come now to 
the circumstances under which the speech was spoken, of 
which Doctor Trench complains. Mr. McDonnell, after the 
assembly had been broken up, used every exertion to tran* 
quillize the people. A public meeting was called upon thg 
2L 3 



890 



16th,, in order to consider the propriety of presenting a 
memorial to the Lord Lieutenant. In the interval, Doctor 
Trench did not procure informations to be lodged against 
any one individual for a riot. He read the Riot Act — he 
caused the police to charge the people, and yet no single 
individual was accused by the Doctor of having taken part 
in the tumuli. The Roman Catholics assembled upon the 
16th, and at that meeting Mr. McDonnell spoke m the lan- 
guage of strong censure of Doctor Trench. Independent of 
the actual outrage committed upon him, the newspapers in 
the interest of the Doctor had represented his conduct in the 
most odious light. In his speech he charged Doctor Trench 
with the insertion of an attack upon him, and that allegation 
is not denied by the Doctor, But compared with the alfront 
(although that is too feeble a word) — compared with the 
outrage offered to him, and to every Roman Catholic, such 
aspersions are of no account. This Court will not grant an 
information against a man, who, provoked by a single offen- 
sive phrase, sends a challenge, and seeks a reparation in blood. 
Will the Court grant an information against an individual 
who was provoked — not with a phrase — not with a taunting 
word- — not with a contumelious expression— not with a con^ 
temptuous look — but by an outrage, as monstrous and exas- 
perating as it is possible to conceive ? It is said that his 
retaliation was disproportionate to the injury which he 
had received, and that the charges brought against 
Doctor Trench were unfounded. I will admit, for the 
sake of argument, that he never presided over the torture 
of a miserable female — that he never applied to a sub-Sheriff 
for liberty to play the part of an executioner, and inflict a 
frightful torment with his own hands — that he never was 
known by the coarse but powerful designation of skin-him- 
alive — that he was never guilty of any species of persecution 
in promoting his favourite object — that he never prostrated 
houses, expelled their wretched occupiers, and filled the 
hearts of parents with despair and sorrow — nay, further*, I 
will admit that he never was an Adjutant — that he was 
distinguished for the purity of his life — and that he does not 
come reeking into this Court, after having rolled and wal- 
lowed in the stye of a common and promiscuous concubinage: 
but while I admit all this, I appeal to the cardinal principle 
upon which this Court regulates its decisions, and I put this 
question—" Does not the man who sends a hostile message 
act against the laws of God, and the ordinances of society 
—yet, if he has received an affront — if he has been called by 
some ignominious appellation, no information will be granted 



391 



against him. Shall, then, the provoked gladiator find a pro- 
tection, which is to be denied to the insulted writer of a 
libel ? Is duelling an excepted rase — and will this Court 
consider the individual who seeks to take away human life, 
as sheltered from a criminal information by the offence which 
he has sustained, and shall the mere utterer of words be the 
object of the sternest judicial rigour ? Shall he who levels 
a pistol at my heart escape with impunity — and shall the man 
whose pen drops gall, be deprived of the benefit of the same 
extenuation? If it be urged that Mr. M'Donnell went 
beyond the bounds of fair comment, and that although he 
sustained an affront, still that his anger was not in measure 
with the provocation, I answer, apply that argument to the 
case of duelling, and let me ask, whether, in a legal or moral 
point of view, deciding upon your judicial oaths, you can 
hold that the offence, which embraces the guilt of murder 
and suicide together, can be justified by any quantity of 
exasperation ? — If a man calls me (t villain," and I de- 
mand his life this Court will not grant an information 
against me ; and wherefore ? Not because it considers 
me as defensible, but because it looks to the quarter 
from whence the original injuries came. This Court tells 
many a prosecutor, " although your life has been aimed at 
— although the defendant sought to wipe out the offence 
which you have offered to him with your blood — yet, as you 
were originally to blame, you are not entitled to favour • 
other remedies are open to you, and we leave you to seek 
them." Let me, then, bring before your Lordship's consi- 
deration, the nature and extent of the provocation which 
Mr. M'Donnell received, in order that you may judge whe- 
ther he was originally to blame. He went to a public 
meeting at Ballinasloe, to discuss a subject in which he felt 3, 
profound interest. The proceedings of the Hibernian Bible 
Society are not exempt from the cognizance of public opinion, 
and are liable to strictures to which even the measures 
of Government are exposed. Whether right or wrong he 
acted under the influence of strong impressions. He thought 
it absurd to put a Book, upon the construction of which the 
wisest and best men have differed., into indiscriminate circu- 
lation, amongst those whose minds are as obtuse as then- 
hands are hard. He was at a loss to discover the benefits 
that could result from a medley of religions, and a miscel- 
lany of creeds. He conceived that it would be as well to 
allow the humble peasant to continue in the exercise of that 
form of worship in which he was born, in which he had 
lived, and in which it is his best hope and confidence to die. 



392 



He was convinced, and he had the authority of the Clergy 
of his own church to warrant him in that conviction, that 
the system of which Dr. Trench is the advocate, is incompati- 
ble with the essential spirit of the Catholic religion. He 
looked upon the itinerant hawkers of a new-fangled Chris- 
tianity as the emissaries of dissension, and he saw that 
religious rancour, and all the fury of theological detestation, 
marked the steps of these vagabond Apostles of discord 
wherever they appeared. With these impressions he attended 
the meeting at Ballinasloe. He spoke, and his right to 
speak was not disputed. He was guilty of no greater of- 
fence than that of vindicating the Roman Catholic Clergy 
from the accusations which Mr. Pope and Mr. Gordon 
had cast upon them. He avoided all angry recrimination. 
He did not, in answer to the charges brought against the 
Catholic Clergy, lift the veil from the abuses of the Establish- 
ment — he did not, when the Catholic Priesthood were 
charged with profligacy, say one word about Doctor Trench. 
When the calumniators of his church went back to the dis- 
tance of centuries for instances of depravity in Catholic 
Bishops, Mr. M'Donnell did not allude to the execrable 
misdeeds of no very remote occurrence, on which Protes- 
tants should reflect before they bring their charges against 
the poor and unendowed Clergy of the Catholic Church. 
He did not, in discussing the propriety of circulating the 
Scriptures among all classes, without distinction, enquire 
whether the details of unnatural vice and appalling abomi- 
nation, contained in the history of a corrupt and sensual 
people, were fit for the perusal of boyhood and a virgin's 
meditations. He did not put any one argument, or make an 
observation which would excite the prejudices, or alarm the 
sensitiveness of the most enthusiastic of his hearers. He 
was contented with the vindication of the Catholic Hierar- 
chy and Clergy from the most foul and false aspersions, and 
remonstrated, in the language of gentle expostulation, on the 
evil effects of the system which the London Hibernian So- 
ciety employed its emissaries to promote ; and yet, for this, 
for no more than this, a body of infuriated police are let 
loose upon the people. They are halloed on by this sacer- 
dotal Adjutant, this consecrated Magistrate, this regimen- 
tal Divine. The Roman Catholics are assailed with every 
species of insult and of outrage, and Mr. McDonnell him- 
self is driven and thrust out of the assembly, amidst the 
shouts of Doctor Trench's mirmydons, with the grasp of 
ruffianism on his neck, the sabre over his head, and the 
bayonet at his back ; and shall I be told that Mr. McDonnell 



393 



received no provocation ? There is not a man with a drop 
of manly blood in his veins, and with an honourable emo- 
tion in his heart, who would not be fired, and almost mad- 
dened by it. Where is the man who hears me (I care not 
how cold, and torpid, and dead, nature may have made 
him) who would brook such an outrage as this ? Where 
is he ? It would, indeed, require even a larger portion of 
Christian resignation than is possessed by the Doctor him- 
self, (who comes into this Court in order to evince his prac- 
tical progress in the spirit of forgiveness and of mercy) to 
acquiesce and bow down to such an insult as this: and 
where is the justification or pretence for it? The Doctor, in- 
deed, swears that there w r as a riot. He may well say so, for he 
did himself engender and create a frightful tumult. But 
what evidence is there that before the Doctor gave the com- 
mand, and drew the Riot Act out of his pocket, there was 
any, the least symptom of disturbance ? If there was, why 
is it not stated by the Doctor ? Was a blow given ? Was 
a menacious gesture used ? Was there a threat in attitude 
or in words ? The Doctor, with all his promptitude to ap- 
peal to heaven, does not venture to suggest it. What is a 
riot ? The word has a strict legal meaning, and this Court 
ought not to be satisfied with general allegations that a riot 
existed, without having the precise facts and circumstances 
before it, which are the ingredients of the offence, and 
which constitute its legal essence. I impeach the Doctor's 
affidavit upon two grounds. First, that he does not state 
any one fact which goes to establish that there was a riot, 
and secondly, that he did not afterwards take any proceed- 
ings against any one of the alleged rioters. Was a single 
person arrested ? No ! Were there informations lodged for 
a riot ? No ! Was any step taken by this enraged ma- 
gistrate to punish the offence which had induced him to 
uncage ail the ferocious passions of the police, and set them 
upon the people ? I have argued this case as if the charges 
brought against the Doctor were wholly unfounded, and 
insist that the impropriety of his conduct disentitled 
him to a criminal information. But, my Lords, Mr, McDon- 
nell has in his affidavit justified the accusations which 
he has preferred, and it was my duty to comply with 
his instructions, and read not only his own affidavit, but 
those of the numerous witnesses by whom he is corroborated, 
I will not go so far as to say, that truth affords complete 
defence, but I do say that there is a manifest distinction be- 
tween an indictment and an information. In the former^ 



394 



truth is no defence — but as an information is entirely in the 
discretion of the Court, the truth of the charges will be ta- 
ken into consideration, and will be thrown into the balance 
in order to adjust it. I am free to admit, that if the accu- 
sations are unfounded, Doctor Trench is most aggrieved, 
and justice ought to start up in indignation in his defence. 
I do not say that the charges are well founded — it is not my 
province to decide that question — but if they are, (and your 
Lordships will weigh all the probabilities) I think that you 
will pause before you grant a favour to Dr. Trench,, and de- 
cide whether he is the best qualified person to superintend 
the morals of Ballinasloe. What, then, are the charges 
against him ? They are three-fold. It is alleged that he is 
not a fit person to preside over the education of youth — 
firsts because he was a man of dissolute habits, and addicted 
to open and undisguised debauchery — secondly, because he 
has inflicted the greatest misery upon the unfortunate pea- 
santry under his dominion — and thirdly, that he is a man of 
the most cruel and savage propensities, which created for 
him an appellation with which the most shocking images of 
horror are associated. With respect to the first charge, (and 
I again repeat that I am only arguing hypothetically, and in 
obedience to my client's positive instructions) Mr. M'Donnell 
has sworn that the Doctor, since he became a Clergyman, 
has led a licentious life. His miscellaneous amours are 
set forth with minuteness — the names of his courtesans, 
and the places of their abode, are given — and the progeny 
of his indulgences are also specified. Mr. McDonnell has, 
indeed, given as nice and particular details of the Reverend 
Gentleman's sacerdotal frailties as your Lordships could re- 
quire, and every thing has been done by him to remove any 
disposition to incredulity with which charges against an 
Archdeacon ought to be received. It may be objected that 
these statements are made upon belief. Mr. McDonnell, 
however, has encountered this objection; but when I was 
about to read the affidavit of an unfortunate female, contain- 
ing some particulars calculated to satisfy your Lordships, if 
you entertained any doubt of the fidelity of Mr. M'Don- 
nell's delineations of debauchery, Mr. Bennett stopped me, 
and insisted that the affidavit was filed too late, and was not 
admissible. The Court decided that it was not, and there- 
fore I shall not even state what that affidavit set forth. But 
I shall be permitted to say, that it does strike me as extraor- 
dinary that the Clergyman who comes into this Court with 
such ostentatious claims to sanctify, and who demands a re- 



395 



paration for the injury done to his character, should seek a 
shelter from investigation in mere forms of law, and rely 
upon the tardiness with which the affidavit has come in, as 
a ground for withholding the facts from your Lordships' 
minds. If the charges are untrue, why not treat them with 
the scorn with which conscious virtue should always encoun- 
ter the accusations of malignity ? The Doctor enters the tem- 
ple of justice as proudly as he would mount the steps of his 
own church, and with a lofty demeanor demands redress ; 
but the moment proof is offered of the charge, he flies and 
shrinks, and hides himself in the first dark corner of the 
law where he can find a refuge. Having said thus 
much upon this suppression of a most material affida- 
vit, I think it an act of justice to Doctor Trench to 
say, that the charge of gross debauchery relates to his for- 
mer life ; but, that although for many years after he enter- 
ed the church, he persevered in those addictions to gallantry, 
which he had acquired in a less ascetic profession, he has 
lately, as I have been informed and believe, reformed his 
conduct, and allowed time to apply its moralising influence 
to a fiery and impassioned temperament But (and I pro- 
ceed to the next charge) men of vehement characters engage 
in the pursuit of virtue with the same excessive ardour with 
which they obey the allurements of vicious pleasure, and 
the transition from boundless debauchery to the most extra- 
vagant fanaticism, is not uncommon. The Doctor's letters 
to the Parish Priest, asking his leave to preach in the Ca- 
tholic Chapel, afford evidence of this. It is not easy 
to imagine a more extraordinary composition than the 
following : — " Dear Garret, dear fellow-servant, have we 
not the same Master over us — oh, how long and how 
often have I perverted his gifts, abandoned his works, 
and done despite to the spirit of his grace, and truly it is 
high time to awake out of sleep. Let us cast away the 
works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light. I 
have along account to settle — an account of 20 years' stand- 
ing, at which time, as his ministering servant, he delivered 
to me his goods. Gracious God ! what an awful prospect is 
before me, and if he hath in mercy snatched me as a brand 
from the burning, am I still to continue the same wilful, 
disobedient, rebellious, slothful servant as before." This 
letter is accompanied by others in the same delirious strain, 
and in one he applies to the aforesaid Garret Larkin, to al- 
low him to usurp his functions in the Chapel, and from the 
altar to denounce the errors of his religion. This proposi- 



396 



tion might only excite a smile, as it indicates a 
diseased mind, if we did not recollect that the very 
man who indulged in these drivelling effusions, was 
invested with the power of inflicting dreadful oppres- 
sion. It is positively stated, that the Doctor posted up 
a notice, in his own hand-writing, and signed with his name, 
denouncing vengeance on all those who should not obey his 
fanatical injunctions, and send their children through that 
process of apostacy which he had devised. He carri- 
ed his menaces with a frightful fidelity into execution. 
Look at the example of Catherine Heney, for instance, who 
swears, that having, in obedience to the Parish Priest, re- 
fused to send her five children to the Anti-Catholic School 
kept by the Doctor, she was turned out of her cabin, with her 
starving and shivering orphans, and when her house had 
been thrown down, was obliged to seek refuge in a pig- stye, 
where she lay upon heaps of filth in a fever, surrounded by 
the miserable offspring for whom she was no longer able to 
procure nourishment. It may be urged that she is not de- 
serving of belief, because her evidence is tainted by her po- 
verty — it may be said that her affidavit is covered with the 
mire in which she lay ; but let it not be forgotten that the 
Parish Priest swears, that he attended her when she was 
driven from her house, and gives his confirmation to 
her statement. I trust that your Lordships will not say, 
that the affidavit of a Catholic Clergyman of respectabi- 
lity is to be discredited, for no other reason than that it con- 
tains imputations upon a Protestant Archdeacon. The affida- 
vit of Catherine Heney is sustained by a vast number of 
other depositions to similar instances of oppression. Doctor 
Coen, the Roman Catholic Bishop of the diocese, has made 
an affidavit, in which the general conduct of the Archdeacon, 
which is characterised by cruel frenzy, is described. Doc- 
tor Coen is merely a Titular Bishop ; he has not a gilded 
mitre, and is a poor, although an episcopal, Minister of God ; 
I trust that his allegations, given on his solemn oath, 
will not be treated with derision. Pie represents Doc- 
tor Trench as managing and directing a barbarous and 
most heart-rending persecution. The next charge against 
him is expressed in the alleged libel in the following 
words : " I never was charged with bringing a female to the 
triangle." In answer he states, that he never exercis- 
ed any power vested in him with cruelty, and that he 
never did bring a female to the triangle, and he proceeds 
to put your Lordships in possession of the circumstances 
under which he admitted that he did preside over the pub- 



397 

lie military whipping of a female in the barracks at Cork. — 
He states that he was Adjutant of the Gal way Militia, from 
the year 1797 to the year 1799, an d tnat he was present, in 
his official capacity, when the sentence of a court-martial 
was executed upon a woman, who had been detected in steal- 
ing some articles belonging to the soldiers of the regiment, 
to the best of his recollection. To the best of his recollec- 
tion ! I do not think that he should have any very obscure 
or imperfect remembrance of such an incident in his life as 
this. At that time it appears there was a great tendency to 
pilfering, and this female propensity in the regiment it was 
deemed adviseable to scourge out. The Doctor tells us, that 
so efficacious was the example given by the flogging of a 
woman in the barracks, that the crime was, to the best of 
his recollection, suppressed. She was sentenced to twenty- 
five lashes, he says, but very few were applied. What does 
he call u a few?" It would have been condescending of him 
to have stated his notions of number, but he does not enter 
into that trivial particular, nor does he mention the name of 
the commanding officer, nor that of a single member of the 
court-martial ; he does, indeed, say that General Lake ap- 
proved of the sentence, and proceeds to pronounce a gra- 
tuitous encomium upon the General's humanity, which, I 
suppose, includes a latent panegyric upon his own. The 
woman, however, was flogged in his presence, and under 
his holy auspices. His narration, however, does not precisely 
correspond with that of an eye witness to the scene. Patrick 
Muldoon, a soldier of the 13th regiment, states, " that he 
was in it for twenty-five years, and was Serjeant for seven 
years, and has now a pension of £35. for his service ; that 
before he went: into the line he was in the Galway Militia, 
and remembers that a woman was flogged in the barrack, 
when Archdeacon Trench was Adjutant ; that the Archdea- 
con was the only officer that was present — that the woman 
was flogged for having stolen a brass candlestick — that he 
saw the woman stripped down to the waist, and flogged in 
the usual way between the shoulders." This affidavit is 
corroborated by that of Edmund Melody, who says, " That 
Winifred Hynes, the wife of a private in the regiment, was 
accused by Richard Marmion, of having pledged two can- 
dlesticks, his property, whereupon the said Adjutant, the 
Hon. Charles Le Poer Trench, ordered her to be put into 
the guard-house, where she remained the whole night, and 
on the next morning, when the regiment was on parade, 
said Winifred was, by order of said Adjutant, brought out, 
guarded by a file of soldiers, and in the presence of the 
2 M 



398 



regiment, which was formed into a hollow square to witness 
her punishment, the said Winifred Hynes was tied up hands 
and feet, to the triangles ; and the said Winifred Hynes hav- 
ing made vehement struggles to avoid being stripped naked, 
for the purpose of punishment, the said Adjutant went up 
to the Drum-Major, cursed and damned him for not tear- 
ing off her clothes, and in a great passion, giving him a 
blow with a stick, ordered the said Drum- Major to tear and 
cut them off, upon which the said Drum-Major, with a 
knife, cut open said Winifred's gown, and then tore her other 
covering from her shoulders, down to the waist, after which 
she received 50 lashes on the bare back from two drummers, 
in the usual way of flogging soldiers. That during said 
horrid exhibition, a Mr. Davis, an Officer in the said regi- 
ment, went up to the said Adjutant and told him, in the hear- 
ing of deponent, that Peter Hynes, the husband of the said 
Winifred, was absolutely fainting in the ranks, at seeing his 
wife exposed in such a manner, and begged of said Adjutant 
to allow Peter Hynes to retire to his room, upon which the 
said Adjutant answered he might go where he pleased, and 
he did not care if the devil had him. Saith that after said 
flogging, the said Winifred, with her back still bleeding, was 
publicly drummed out of the barrack yard, to the tune of 
' the Rogue's March/ Saith he never heard, nor does he 
believe, that said Winifred Hynes was tried by any Court- 
martial, but was punished, as aforesaid, by the sole order and 
authority of the said Adjutant, the Honourable and now 
the Rev. Charles Le Poer Trench, who, on account of his 
many severities, and particularly of the said flogging of said 
Winifred Hynes, was called in the regiment by the name 
of ' Skin him alive/ I make no comment for the present 
on the facts stated in this Affidavit, except that they com- 
pletely bear out the allegation of Mr, M'Donnell, and merely 
submit it to your consideration, whether that gentleman has, 
in this transaction, at least, very greatly misrepresented this 
very humane and merciful teacher of the word of God. — 
But it may be said, that the conduct of Doctor Trench was 
very essentially and amiably different, after entering into 
Holy Orders — that notwithstanding the identity of person, 
no identity of character existed between the Adjutant and 
the Archdeacon, and that the Doctor presented, in his sub- 
sequent demeanor, a Christian and interesting contrast. Per- 
haps he is at bottom a very kind and softly-natured man, and 
that those, who think ill of the facts I am about to mention, 
mistake, for an inborn severity of character, an over-earnest 
solicitude for the administration of justice. The follow- 



399 



in£ incident in the Doctor's ecclesiastical life, which is 
stated by Mr. M'Donnell in his Affidavit, throws some 
light upon the Doctor's disposition, and ti ill enable the Court 
to judge how far the Doctor is right in his conceptions of 
himself, for lie intimates that he never was guilty of cruelty, 
and insinuates that he is a man of a very sensitive and ten- 
der heart. Mr. McDonnell states that he was informed by the 
Sub-Sheriff of the County of Galway, that in the absence of 
the common executioner — (gracious God ! what a man to 
undertake the teaching of the religion of Christ !) — in the 
absence of the common executioner, when the sentence of 
whipping was to be executed in the town of Loughrea upon 
two culprits, the Archdeacon proposed that he should take 
the lash into his own consecrated hands, and whip the male- 
factors through the principal streets of the town. It may, 
perhaps, be said that the thing is incredible — that it is im- 
possible that any minister of religion should gratuitously 
offer to perform such an office. Perhaps it will be said that 
I have no right to state any thing upon the mere hearsay of 
Mr. M'Donnell. Well, be it so ; but Mr. M'Xevin has made 
an affidavit. I repeat it — The Sub- Sheriff of the County of 
Galway has sworn an affidavit in the following words : — 

u Daniel M'Nevin, of Middle Gardiner-street, in the 
County of Dublin, Esquire, maketh oath, and saith. that in 
the year one thousand eight hundred and ten. deponent was 
acting Sub-Sheriff to Peter Blake, of Corbally Castle, in 
the County of Galway, Esquire, who was High Sheriff of 
said County, for said year ; saith, that at the Quarter Ses- 
sions of Loughrea, in the summer of said year, as deponent 
best recollects, two tenants of the late Lord Clonbrock's 
were convicted of stealing a small quantity of wool, and 
sentenced to be whipped, on a market-day, in the town of 
Ballinasloe, from one extremity of said town to the other ; 
saith, on the day previous to the one appointed for putting 
the said sentence into execution, deponent sent a man, ac- 
companied by a military party, for the purpose of execut- 
ing said sentence, to Ballinasloe aforesaid, from Loughrea. 
in said County, where deponent then resided, but said man 
absconded in the course of the night out of the guard-hous*e, 
where he was with the prisoners, and when deponent arrived 
at Ballinasloe. on the morningof the day on which the sentence 
was to be carried into execution as aforesaid, deponent was 
much alarmed at rinding that he had not any person to per- 
form the duty : deponent saith, he thereupon informed the 
prosecutor in the cause, of the man's having so absconded, 
2M2 



400 



inasmuch as deponent saith the said prosecutor had presided 
with the Barrister on the Bench, at the Sessions at which 
the man had been so convicted and sentenced ; deponent 
saith, the said prosecutor was very much displeased at de- 
ponent having informed him that deponent had not then any 
person to flog the said prisoners, and said prosecutor threa- 
tened this deponent with the consequences, alleging, that the 
said prosecutor would bring deponent's conduct in that in- 
stance before the Court of King's Bench, and have deponent 
fined five hundred pounds ; deponent saith, that thereupon 
deponent informed said prosecutor he was ready and willing 
to pay any sum that could in reason be demanded by any 
person for performing such duty, provided he, said prose- 
cutor, who had influence in the town of Ballinasloe, could 
procure a person to do it, on which the said prosecutor pro- 
posed to deponent to accompany him to the Colonel of a 
regiment of cavalry, then quartered at Ballinasloe, who, 
prosecutor said, he had no doubt would give a man for the 
purpose ; deponent saith, that accordingly deponent did ac- 
company the said prosecutor, to the Colonel, when the pro- 
secutor made the application, which said Colonel indig- 
nantly refused to comply with ; deponent saith, that there- 
upon the said prosecutor was more provoked than before, 
and he again threatened deponent with the Court of King's 
Bench, and the utmost rigour of the law, and deponent be- 
ing really afraid that said prosecutor would carry his threats 
into execution, asked him what he could do to extricate him- 
self from the difficult situation in which deponent was then 
placed, and that deponent was willing to do any thing that 
could in reason be expected from him, to which deponent 
positively saith, the said prosecutor distinctly replied to de- 
ponent in the words, C( we will do the duty between us, I 
will flog them from Cuffs down to Custom-house-gap, if 
you will flog them from that to Doctor Kelly's house de- 
ponent saith, deponent indignantly rejected the proposal so 
made to him ; deponent saith, deponent, with the assistance 
of a friend, afterwards fortunately procured a person to exe- 
cute said sentence ; saith, the prosecutor accompanied this 
deponent, and walked after the car to which the criminals 
were tied, between two files of soldiers, and deponent and 
said prosecutor had proceeded a very few yards, when pro- 
secutor found fault with the man, for not inflicting the pu- 
nishment with sufficient severity, and at length said prose- 
cutor became so abusive to deponent on the same account, 
that deponent was obliged to call in the officer commanding 
the military attending on said occasion, to put said prosecutor 



401 



out of the ranks ; deponent further saith, that deponent 
having been at the Earl of Clancarty's, some time previous 
to the day on which the aforesaid sentence was to be put into 
execution, that deponent was invited by him, the said Earl, 
to dine at Garbally on said day, but deponent, in consequence 
of the conduct of the prosecutor, declined going to Garbally 
on that day, as deponent could not think of dining in com- 
pany with a man who could treat him as the prosecutor had 
done." 

I cannot tell what impression the statement of these facts 
may make upon others, but, for my own part, I confess that 
they fill me with astonishment and horror. It has been my 
painful duty to state them. If the charges contained in 
these affidavits be unfounded, I beg to be understood again 
to say, that I consider Archdeacon Trench to be most deeply 
injured and aggrieved ; but if (and in every thing I say re- 
lative to Dr. Trench, I speak upon an hypothesis) the facts 
are correctly stated, I own that I not only do not consider 
the language employed by Mr. McDonnell as surcharged 
with vituperation, but I believe the English tongue could 
not supply, out of all its ample and abundant stores, 
phrase commensurate with the prosecutor's conduct. — 
He was either serious in the proposition he made to 
Mr, M'Xevin or he was not. If he was serious in that pro- 
position — if he really intended to perform the part of a pub- 
lic executioner — if he was anxious for the enjoyment of the 
moral luxury which was to be derived from his manual aid 
in the infliction of justice — if it was, indeed, his purpose 
to take the cat- o'-n in e- tails into that hand with which he 
distributed the sacramental bread, and circulated the conse- 
crated chalice — if, with that hand which he raises up to Hea- 
ven from its altars to invoke mercy for mankind, he intended 
to go through the process of bloody laceration ; to lay bare 
the bone, and to send the flesh in fragments from the 
back, what sort of heart must he carry in his bosom ? And 
if he was not serious — if he spoke in mockery and in 
joke, good God ! what a subject for humour, what matter 
for merriment in a minister of Christ ! Two wretched 
men were to be whipped — they were to undergo a 
frightful, and to any man who has ever witnessed the 
execution of such a sentence, an appalling execution, 
and it is upon their anticipated tortures, upon their convul- 
sions, and their groans, that this teacher of the gospel in- 
dulges in the spirit of truculent hilarity and of sanguinary 
jest. But why should I suggest or imagine that he was not 
serious in this amiable proposition, made to the Sub-Sheriff 
2 M 3 



402 



of Gal way, who swears to the fact. The Doctor took care 
to shew what his real feelings and intentions were, in offer- 
ing to accommodate the Sheriff with his holy hands ; for he 
followed the cart, he urged on the torture, he fed upon their 
agonies, and refreshed himself with their groans ; and this 
is the man who propagates the word of God, without note 
or comment. This is the man who bids us look for Christia- 
nity, and seek the waters of life at their pure, fresh, and 
inccrrupted source. This is the minister of a mild, and mer- 
ciful religion, in its most perfect and refined shape— the man 
who had tendered his own hand to do the work of savage- 
ness and of blood — the man who had gloated over the torments 
of two human beings, made of the same flesh as himself; 
the man who had presided over the tortures of a woman — 
who had ordered her to be brought forth, guarded by a file 
of soldiers, and in the presence of the whole regiment, 
caused her covering to be torn from her back, and woman as 
she was, ordered her shift to be dragged off, until she stood 
naked to the waist, and then — I am not now relying upon the 
prosecutor's affidavit, nor upon any affidavit made in its cor- 
roboration: — The great, the leading, the essential fact is con- 
fessed, I should rather say, is admitted — aye, and avowed 
and proclaimed by Doctor Trench himself: — He states, that 
as Adjutant he stood by while the horrible operation was 
going on. — I stop not here to say one single word of the 
illegality of this shocking proceeding, — I will not suggest 
that the flogging of a woman, under the sentence of a 
Court-martial, was a monstrous violation of the law:-*- 
All considerations of illegality are lost in the unmanly bar- 
barity of that inhuman and most atrocious deed : — The mis- 
demeanor against the law, is merged in the felony against 
human nature : He stood by — he himself admits it— 
the Priest of Christ stood by — he saw the^ wretched wo- 
man brought to the triangle — he beheld her garments torn off 
—her shoulders laid bare — he beheld the scourge laid upon 
her naked and quivering flesh — he beheld her writhing and 
convulsive motions — he heard her shrieks — he listened to 

her screams and he comes into this Court to demand a 

criminal information ! My Lords, I feel that I have been 
carried away in the description of this horrid spectacle, 
whose image rushed upon me as I advanced, beyond that 
tone of deliberation which would become the ordinary cases 
which are discussed in this Court, I could not help it ; but 
though I have spoken with ardour, still let me, almost in the 
moment that I am doing so, state again and distinctly, that 
all that I have uttered is founded upon a supposition of the 



403 



truth of these affidavits, and if they are false, let every thing 
that has passed my lips be considered as mere idle sound, 
and vain declamation. I fulfil a most painful duty, in speak- 
ing as I have done of a Clergyman, who, if the accusations 
of Mr. M'Donnell are destitute of truth, is, indeed, a deeply 
injured and calumniated man. But are those accusations 
void of truth and probability ? It is for your Lordships to 
determine. It may, perhaps, be urged, that much of what 
I have said is really not relevant to the exact legal question. 
I submit that it is so in two points of view. First, that truth is 
to be an ingredient for your consideration in the exercise of 
your discretion ; and, secondly, that from the general habits 
and tendencies of the prosecutor, you will be better enabled 
to judge of his motives in dispersing a public assembly at the 
point of the bayonet. I have said thus much upon grounds 
applicable to the prosecutor himself. Let me be pardoned 
for saying a very few words, with great humility and self- 
distrust, upon a ground of objection to the conditional order 
applicable to yourselves. You are not bound to grant this 
information. Is it, then, judicious of your Lordships to 
interfere in the contest which is now waging, not only be- 
tween these parties, but between two great religious factions 
in this country. You do no wrong to the prosecutor by 
refusing him relief in a specific form. He has still a remedy 
by indictment or by action. On grounds, therefore, of pub- 
lic policy, I submit that it is unwise that you should inter* 
mingle in this angry contention, especially where the inter- 
position of your Lordships, instead of allaying the popular 
passions and animosities, is calculated to excite them. Let 
it not be said (as it will be said if you grant the information) 
that the Court of King's Bench solemnly and deliberately 
approved of the dispersion of an assembly convened for the 
purposes of religion, by a military force — let it not be said 
that your Lordships unnecessarily interfered in the fierce 
controversy which is carrying on with all the proverbial 
rancour of theological detestation — let it not be said that 
justice left her lofty seat to rush into the midst of a polemi- 
cal affray, and that when she stretched forth the arm of her 
strong prerogative, it was not in order to part and separate 
the disputants, but to protrude and urge them on, and make 
herself a party in the combat. 



404 



SECOND DAY — WEDNESDAY. 

Mr. BENNETT rose to support the conditional order.— 
He said, that in this case it fell to his duty, as Counsel for 
the prosecutor, to lay before the Court the grounds upon 
which he conceived that the conditional order should be 
made absolute. As one of their Lordships (Mr. Justice 
Jebb) was not present at the argument in this case on a 
former day, he, Mr. Bennett, would succinctly state the 
grounds upon which the conditional order had been ob- 
tained, and he would then refer to some of the affidavits 
which had been put in on the part of the defendant. The 
conditional order was obtained on the affidavits of the Hono- 
rable and Venerable Archdeacon Trench, sworn on the 20th, 
and filed on the 23d of November, 1826. In that affidavit 
he states, that he is Archdeacon of Ardagh, a Justice of the 
Peace, and a Magistrate for the Counties of Gal way and Ros- 
common. He read in a newspaper, called The Dublin 
Weekly Register, purporting to have been published on 
Saturday, the 21st of October, 1826, a certain article, enti- 
tled " Ballinasloe Meeting," and purporting to be a Report,' 
from the special Reporter of said newspaper, of the speeches 
and proceedings of a meeting of the Catholic inhabitants of 
Ballinasloe, held on the preceding Monday. He states, that 
in this Report there appears a speech, purporting to be one 
spoken by Mr. iEneas M'Donnell, and in it are to be found 
the following paragraphs :•— 

" I was about having my amendment put from the Chair, 
and in a few minutes we would have all separated in peace, 
but without waiting for that, Archdeacon Trench calls out 
for the police, and this minister of God substitutes the Riot 
Act for the Bible, and swords for his evangelizers. — (Cheers.) 
The people were quiet — why then read the Riot Act ? — and 
even if they were disorderly, why did he come prepared 
with the Act in his pocket ? — was this a concerted plan— or 
shall I call him, in intention, a murderer ? Having read the 
Riot Act, he called on the police to do their duty, and the 
fellows were ready enough to do it. The Hon. G. Ffrench, 
a Magistrate, was repulsed from the Chair by these armed 
men, war was declared by the Doctor, the peace of society 
was disturbed, heads were cut, and blood was spilt/' 

And also the following paragraph :— 

" The four Magistrates were, Dean Mahon, Dr. Trench, 
Lord Dunlo, and potato-faced M'Donogh— (loud laughter) 
— one would imagine that they would have endeavoured to 



405 



protect the public, and that as blood has flowed, these Magis- 
trates would have made enquiry how far the law was vio- 
lated. They did no such thing. Having accomplished 
their intent they returned to their meeting with perfect 
composure, and to this hour they have not expressed regret, 
nor made a single enquiry." 

And also the following paragraph : — 

" Now to Dr. Trench. — It had been said that he has 
improved Ballinasloe. He has got up a system of deceit and 
disunion — of separating neighbour from neighbour — afflict- 
ing the country at large, and distracting society. To what, 
then, comes his boast ? He has whitewashed a few houses, 
which, like haunted charnel-houses, are white without and 
black within. The hearts of fathers have been broken, 
mothers have been sent to their graves, and children torn 
from their parents — the ties of filial and parental love have 
been dissolved. Never did I hear more blasphemy— never 
did I see more filth than in this town, and not a single manu- 
factory to employ its population. Some of the walls are 
whitewashed. A poor man is glad to get six-pence a day in 
winter for his labour, eight-pence a day in summer, and 
ten-pence from the Canal Company is considered a gift. Is 
this encouragement for industry ? The other day this man 
attacked me, I fling back his aspersions. Let him know 
that my pretensions have not the same foundation as his. I 
never was charged with bringing a female to the triangle ; I 
never was called e ' skin-him-alive n in my corps ; I never 
tore down the houses of the poor ; I never manufactured 
parsons to provide for illegitimate daughters ; I never fol- 
lowed the convict Rowan to Cork, and, because he became 
an apostate to his faith, brought him back to Ballinasloe ; 
I have never suborned witnesses, who afterwards came here 
to confess their guilt, and the name of the suborner ; I never 
was accustomed to intrude into the peaceable habitations of 
the poor ; I do not make the Riot Act my Bible, and take 
from it my lessons of government. If I do not do so, I ask 
who does ?" 

It a^so contains the following paragraph : — 

" Though I declare, that on my entrance I saw an in- 
creased force of policemen, called, in Ballinasloe, Doctor 
Trench's faction ; that above stairs and below stairs I beheld 
carbines, swords, and bayonets ; and that I saw the Doctor 
admitting, under the name of gentlemen, people whose 
appearance accorded ill with that class, and heard him say, 
( Let them go to the upper end of the room/ to men who 



406 



were covered with frize coats and felt hats. Though I saw 
all this I scarcely suspected the object." 

And also the following paragraph : — 

" But I shall go on with the scene. After Archdeacon 
Trench had introduced all his myrmidons above, he made 
arrangements for the developement of his plan. I have 
evidence to support the fact. Even before the attack, 
Robert Trench, son of the Archdeacon, expressed a hope 
that there would be a riot. I have certificate testifying to 
this fact ; and Mr. Trench can hear it if he choose. The 
night previous to this brutal outrage, Gordon and Pope were 
at the house of Garbally. I will not say that any arrange- 
ment was entered into there ; I will not say that any com- 
pact was made ; I will not suppose that any thing was done 
to make Lord Dunlo forget his pledge ; I will not, in fine, 
imagine that a plan was concerted to assassinate the peo- 
ple." 

The following words also occur : — 

" Was this a concerted plan, or shall I call him, in inten- 
tion, a murderer ?" 

The affidavit further states, that the deponent has read in 
a newspaper, called The Morning Register, paragraphs to 
the same effect, and equally calumnious. He, Mr. Bennett, 
w T ould shortly trouble the Court with a few observations 
upon the nature of those imputations and inuendos which 
were cast upon Dr. Trench. It appears that Dr. "Trench 
swears in his affidavit that every one of the above charges 
are false ; and he further swears that no complaint was 
made to him, as a Magistrate, for redress, in consequence of 
what had happened at the meeting ; that no serious injury 
took place there, and therefore that it was not necessary to 
make an enquiry. He swears that he never willingly 
excited disunion, or instigated any person to a breach of the 
peace. He totally denies the truth of the charges which 
have been put forward against him, and of the more particu- 
lar one respecting the triangle, he gives the following expla- 
nation : — He states, that a woman, who accompanied the 
Galway Militia, was repeatedly found stealing various arti- 
cles belonging to the soldiers ; after endeavouring to prevent 
her by every means, the Commanding-officer found it his 
duty to have her tried for the offence by Court-martial ; she 
was there found guilty, and sentenced to receive fifty lashes ; 
Archdeacon Trench was then Adjutant of the Galway 
Militia, and he swears, what is well known to most people, 
that it is the duty of the Adjutant to attend the infliction of 
every punishment in the regiment ; he states that he attend- 



407 



ed at the infliction of this sentence, according to his duty a3 
Adjutant ; he states, that, to the best of his recollection, the 
woman was only sentenced to receive twenty-five lashes, and 
that but few w r ere actually inflicted ; that the punishment 
was merely intended by way of example, and that he believes 
it had the desired effect, as he was informed that the prac- 
tice of stealing afterwards entirely ceased in the regiment ; 
he then proceeds to state the object of the meeting which 
took place in Ballinasloe, and which is alluded to in the 
paragraphs already quoted ; he states that it was a Society 
of Gentlemen, met together for a particular purpose ; he 
proceeds to state, that the London Hibernian Society had 
sent a deputation to Ballinasloe, to hold a meeting there of 
its members, and that the object of the meeting was for the 
purpose of educating the poor of Ireland, by the establish- 
ment of Free Schools, and the gratuitous circulation of the 
Holy Scriptures, without note or comment. A branch of 
the Society had been established at Ballinasloe ; and he 
states, that although the meeting was open to the public, no 
person except a member had a right to address the Chair. 
Archdeacon Trench then proceeds to detail the occurrences 
at this meeting, which continued for three days. Upon the 
first day he states, that Eneas M'Donnell, though it was 
contrary to the rules of the Society, was allowed by the 
Chairman to speak for three hours and a half ; that on the 
second day Mr. M'Donnell spoke for five hours, and the 
whole object of both his speeches was to oppose the Society. 
One would think that here there was speaking enough for 
any Barrister who was not paid for it. Dr. Trench proceeds 
to state, that the passions of the people were, as might be 
expected, greatly excited by those speeches, and that in 
consequence, on the third day a violent and alarming riot 
took place, raised, as he believes, by the opponents of the 
Society, in order to prevent the members thereof carrying 
their laudable objects into effect. He swears, that seeing 
the appearance of a riot, and fearing that the members of 
the Society would be attacked with personal violence, he 
read the Riot Act, which he happened to have in his pocket, 
having carried it with him during the fair of Ballinasloe, 
that had just concluded. He swears that he did not give 
any orders to the police to attend at the Market-house, 
where the meeting was held, but having perceived them 
there, without any direction from him, he wrote a note on 
the evening of the first day, to the chief constable, requesting 
that the doors would be kept shut next morning, until the 
Ladies and Gentlemen connected with the Society should be 



408 



provided with seats. He swears that he repeated the same 
request on the evening of the second day, and that these 
were the only communications he had with the police. He 
states that he cannot charge his memory with having told 
the police to do their duty, though he believed their pre- 
sence necessary for the suppression of the riot. He states 
that the police acted under the orders of their commander, 
who, being asked by the Hon. Gonville French, a magis- 
trate, by whose orders he had brought in his men, replied 
he had no orders, but he acted on his own responsibility. 
Doctor Trench proceeds to swear, that he believes no unne- 
cessary violence took place on this occasion, nor was there 
blood spilled. He states, that he did not read the Riot Act 
until he found himself called upon, in the discharge of his 
magisterial duty, to protect the members of the Society from 
personal violence. This affidavit of Dr. Trench is accom- 
panied by one from Mr. Gal way, the agent for the prosecu- 
tion, who states, that finding the publication, he went to the 
Editor of the newspaper in which it appeared, and he was 
there informed that Mr. M'Donnell was ready to admit it. 
Indeed, on application being made to Mr. M'Donnell, he at 
once, and without hesitation, avowed himself as the author 
of the speech, and of the publication, Against the condi- 
tional order Mr. M f Donnell has filed, as well as he (Mr. 
Bennett) could count them, thirty-two affidavits. The first 
one by himself, the other affidavits are made by Clergymen 
of the Roman Catholic Church— -some by persons who call 
themselves esquires — by butchers — by landholders — by beg- 
gars-*-by beggarmen and beggar women. A few of these 
affidavits alluded to the meeting in question — others of them 
applied to the prosecutor, to his brothers, the Archbishop of 
of Tuam and Captain Trench, and also to Lord Dunlo and 
Mr. M'Donough. Some of those affidavits contain charges 
of a criminal nature against the conduct of Archdeacon 
Trench. Of the meeting at which the speech from which 
the libellous paragraphs have been taken, was delivered by 
Mr. McDonnell, none of the affidavits, except the one sworn 
by Mr. McDonnell himself, speak. Of the charges of cri- 
minality which these affidavits contain, this classification 
may be made — First, imputations of criminal misconduct 
on the part of the prosecutor, as a magistrate, at the meeting 
on the 11th of October — Secondly, conduct on his part 
reprehensible, if not criminal, respecting the tenantry on 
Lord Clancarty's estate — Thirdly, several acts of immorality, 
which may again be subdivided into the following charges : 
Flogging a woman at a triangle— subornation of perjury— 



409 



providing for his illegitimate daughters, by getting livings 
for gentlemen and marrying his daughters to them — corrup- 
tion as a magistrate generally, and r finally, for conspiring 
with others, at the meeting of the 12th of October, to take 
away the lives of the peaceable unoffending Catholics of the 
town of Ballinasloe. This he (Mr. Bennett) took to be a 
fair classification of the affidavits. He now came to discover, 
if he could, in the speech of Mr. Sheil, what are the princi- 
ples upon which he opposes this conditional order. As far 
as he could ascertain them, they are as follows : — First, Mr. 
Sheil says that Mr. M'Donnell, a gentleman of the Irish bar, 
was warranted in making that speech, and afterwards pub- 
lishing it to the country, on account of the conduct of Arch- 
deacon Trench at the meeting on the 12th of October ; 
Secondly, he justifies both one and the other (the speaking 
and the publishing) from the truth of the charges contained 
in that speech ; Thirdly, he says, that on account of the 
truth of some of the charges, Mr. McDonnell was entitled to 
hold the prosecutor up to the public as guilty not only of 
those crimes, but of others which Mr. McDonnell has not 
shewn to be true ; Fourthly, Mr. Sheil alleges that enough 
of bad blood already exists in Ballinasloe, and between the 
parties, and this he adduces as an argument-why this Court 
should not grant the criminal information. There were 
two topics which formed no portion of the defence, and to 
which the Court could not fail to direct its attention. The 
publication in question was admitted to be a libel, and the 
defendant admits that he is the author of it, and glories in 
being so. The Court is now called upon to say whether this 
libel against a Clergyman, a Gentleman, and a Magistrate, 
is to be put in the course of a legal investigation before a 
jury, or whether it is to be stifled by disallowing the cause. 
He, Mr. Bennett, would now proceed to consider the grounds 
of the defence. Mr. McDonnell, who is a gentleman known 
to them all as a Barrister of considerable practice on the 
Connaught circuit, and who was known to be extremely 
eloquent, in the month of September, 1826, went down to 
the County Galway. His first appearance there is thus 
announced in the affidavit of the Rev. Dr. Coen, Catholic 
Archbishop at Loughrea. The Rev. deponent, after stating 
that he had written a letter to Lord Clancarty, relative to 
the oppression of his tenantry, on account of their refusing 
to send their children to Bible schools, and to which letter 
he received no answer, he proceeds to state, that " deponent 
therefore determined that so iniquitous a system should no 
longer be kept concealed, but that the wrongs of those pcor 
2 N 



410 



creatures should be proclaimed to the world; deponent 
further saith, that Mr. Eneas M'Donnell, with whom depo- 
nent was many years acquainted, having been, during part 
of last summer and autumn, in the County of Mayo, from 
whence deponent had heard of his great and successful exer- 
tions in the cause of his religion and of his country, deponent 
resolved, if possible, to procure his assistance and advice in 
behalf of the persecuted tenantry of said Lord Clancarty, 
and the aid of his powerful abilities in counteracting the 
efforts of the Biblicals; and saith, that for that purpose a 
meeting of the Catholic inhabitants of Loughrea was con- 
vened by public requisition in September last, at which it 
was resolved to invite the said Eneas McDonnell to a public 
dinner in said town." The affidavit proceeds to state, that 
the invitation was accepted of by Mr. McDonnell ; that a 
public meeting was held in Loughrea ; that Mr. McDonnell 
attended at said meeting, and " loudly inveighed against the 
system of cruelty and persecution adopted, as herein-before 
mentioned, against the poor tenants of Lord Clancarty;" 
and that a petition on the subject was agreed upon to be 
presented to Lord Dunlo. He, (Mr. McDonnell) in his own 
affidavit, proceeds to state, that he went from Loughrea to 
the provincial meeting about being held in Ballinasloe. This 
was the first meeting at which he appeared, and he states in 
his affidavit, that he addressed the meeting on the subject of 
the persecution of Lord Clanearty's tenantry. It appears 
that at this meeting he expatiated, at length, upon the con- 
duct of the Trench family, and attacked and abused the 
Archbishop of Tuam, Dr. Trench and Lord Clancarty. 
This is the first appearance of this gentleman on any occa- 
sion. The meeting took place on the 8th of October. On 
the 9th Mr, M'Donnell states, that he saw an advertisement, 
calling a meeeting of the friends of the London Hibernian 
Society for the next day, and that he felt it h